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 Wilbur Aaron Reaser  (1860 - 1942)

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Lived/Active: California/Minnesota/Ohio / Europe      Known for: portrait, landscape painting, illustration

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Ad Code: 3
Wilbur Aaron Reaser
from Auction House Records.
Oakland Harbor
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Wilbur Aaron Reaser

Born on Christmas Day, 1860 at Hickville, Ohio, Reaser began studying art at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco.  From there he continued his training in Paris at the Académie Julian in 1888-89, where hundreds of his fellow Americans congregated for instruction.  There his teachers were Jules-Joseph Lefebvre and Benjamin Constant. 

Already in 1890, Reaser was exhibiting at the Paris Salon (Portrait of Mrs. R., and Bath Attendant) and in 1893 he contributed Girl Reading and a pastel entitled Mother and Child.  After returning home, Reaser won gold and silver medals at the California Exposition in 1894 then the First Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy of Design in 1897. 

He continued to submit figure painting to other national exhibitions (to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1897 and the Pennsylvania Academy, 1898 and 1900).  His Portrait of Senator W.B. Allison hangs in the U.S. Senate lobby, and he is known to have painted murals in private homes.  The Carnegie Museum of Art has his Mother and Daughter and the Iowa State Historical Society has some of his works.  In addition, the Des Moines Art Center has Old Man and Sleeping Child.

Reaser was most active exhibiting at the Carnegie Institute (1897-1912).  He developed an astonishingly free broken-color technique in pastel, shown in Seaweed Gatherers, Italy, probably from around 1910.  The entire picture surface is enlivened by juxtaposed strokes of pastel, while the artist limited his selection of colors to sky blue, ultramarine, viridian, and violet.  Reaser died on December 9, 1942 in Minneapolis.

Clark, Edna, Ohio Art and Artists. Richmond, VA: Garrett and Massie, 1932, p. 486.

Written and submitted by Richard H. Love and Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D.

Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Painter, illustrator.  Born in Hicksville, Ohio on December 25, 1860.  After arriving in San Francisco in 1881, Reaser studied at the School of Design and had further study in Paris under Benjamin-Constant and Lefebvre.  He illustrated articles on California for Overland Monthly and was active in California until about 1903. 

After several years in New York and Florence, Italy, he settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota and died there on December 9, 1942.  Primarily a portrait and figure painter, he also did landscapes.

Mechanics' Inst. (SF), 1887; SFAA, 1887-96; Calif. Midwinter Int'l Expo, 1894 (silver and gold medals); Calif. State Fair, 1895; NAD, 1897 (prize).

Portraits in: Capitol Bldg (Charleston, WV); Des Moines Art Gallery; Carnegie Gallery (Pittsburgh); State Historical Society (Des Moines); U.S. Senate Lobby.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
AAA 1907-19; WWAA 1936-41; NY Times, 12-11-1942 (obit).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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