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 David Winfield Scott  (1916 - 2009)

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Lived/Active: District Of Columbia/California      Known for: modernist imagery, landscape painting

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Ad Code: 3
David Winfield Scott
from Auction House Records.
Mountain Peaks View
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A curator, museum director, and established watercolor painter, David Winfield Scott has embraced both realism and abstraction in his long career.  He was born in Massachusetts, and during his childhood lived in Iowa and Nebraska before moving to Claremont, California, where his father took a professorship at Pomona College.  In 1933, at age 16, he earned a degree from The Webb School and took a summer painting class with Millard Sheets, who was leading the American Scene movement in California. 

Scott attended Harvard University but spent one year between his sophomore and junior year at Claremont because of ill health, and again studied with Sheets.  He became active in the Laguna Beach Art Association and earned a reputation as a bit of rebel for his modernist tendencies amongst many 'sentimental' painters. 

Finishing at Harvard and studying at the Art Students League in New York, he became a student of John Sloan in the last class given by that social realist artist.  Other influential teachers were Ernest Fiene, Jean Charlot and Alexander Abels.  He also earned a Master's Degree in painting from Claremont's Graduate University program, and in 1940 and 41 taught at Riverside Junior College in Riverside, California.

During World War II, he served in the Photo Intelligence division of the Air Corps and spent much time in Europe.  He did much sketching of landscape scenes and wartime activities.  After the war, he taught at Scripps College along with Millard Sheets, and ultimately chaired the Department.  He married, and he and his bride spent many months painting in Mexico and also exploring art history subjects---which led to him pursuing a doctoral dissertation on French Romanesque architecture.

He became active in the California Watercolor Society, which he served as President.  In 1962, he joined the staff of the Smithsonian Institution, moving to Washington DC, and filling that position until 1984.  In 1990, he served as Acting Director for eleven months of the Corcoran Gallery.

His first wife died in 1986, and two years later, he married again and resumed his own painting career.  The couple currently (2006) live in Austin, Texas.

Barbara Dougherty, "The Inner and Universal World of David Scott", Watercolor, December 2006, pp. 106-117

Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Watercolorist. Born in Fall River, Massachusetts on July 10, 1916.

With his mother, artist Edith Scott, he settled in Claremont, CA in 1923.  Scott earned his A.B. degree at Harvard, Ph.D at UC, and M.F.A. at Claremont (CA) Graduate School.  He further studied at the Art Students in New York City under John Sloan in 1940.

He taught art at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate School from 1946-63.  He then moved to Washington, DC where he was director of the National Collection of Fine Arts (1963-69), director of the National Gallery (1969-74), and consultant at Smithsonian Institution (1974-95).

He currently resides in Whitehaven, MD.

Laguna Beach Art Association, 1935, 1939
New York Water Color Society, 1937
American Watercolor Society, 1938
Philadelphia Water Color Society, 1938
California Water Color Society, 1939-54
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1949, 1950
Metropolitan Museum, 1953

Newport (CA) High School. Invw; WWAA 1940-66; WWC 1942.
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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