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 Eda St John Smitten  (1856 - 1914)

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Lived/Active: California/Hawaii      Known for: landscape painting, botanical drawing

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Evening Glow
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An artist known for her oil landscapes and pencil drawings and also for the meticulous care she took with each work, Eda St. John Smitten was born in San Francisco. In 1876, she married Lewis Workman Smitten, who was an artist, and they had a son. After their son was raised, she turned seriously to an art career and studied at the California School of Design and also with Lorenzo Latimer and William Burgess. She lived in San Francisco until 1903 and then moved to Berkeley, where she died on November 16, 1914.

Among the titles of her landscapes are "Queenly Tamalpais", "On Eel River", "Across Berkeley Hills" and "Down on the Truckee". She did a series of botanical drawings, which are in the possession of family members. According to a great, great granddaughter, Ann Johnson, Eda Smitten kept a book "that appeared to have doubled as her diary, filled with handwritten poems and clippings from magazines she must have liked." From the 1895 trip to Hawaii with her husband, a civil engineer who built one of the first roads on Oahu (it may have been the first), Smitten also wrote an article and did paintings.

Exhibition venues included the San Francisco Art Association, the Berkeley Art Association and the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. At the time of her death, unfinished landscapes of Berkeley and Claremont were on her easel.

Sources include:
Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, "An Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West"
Ann Johnson, information to AskART, July 2005. She is the great, great granddaughter of the artist

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Grass Valley, CA on July 28, 1856. Eda St. John grew up in San Francisco and studied there at the School of Design and with L. P. Latimer and Wm H. Burgess. She married Lewis Smitten in 1876 and continued her career in San Francisco. During the 1890s she visited Hawaii and painted scenes of the islands. In 1903 she established a home in Berkeley and continued painting there until her death on Nov. 16, 1914. Member: Sequoia Club (SF); Hillside Club (Berkeley). Exh: Mechanics' Inst., 1871 (silver medal), 1896; SFAA, 1894-1912; Oakland Art Fund, 1905; Starr King Fraternity, 1905; Berkeley AA, 1908; Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909; Sequoia Club (SF), 1909; SF Women Artists, 1914.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
California State Library (Sacramento); Women Artists of the American West; SF Examiner, 11-17-1914 (obituary).
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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