Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Frances Gearhart Glorifies California's Landscape
Frances Hammell Gearhart (1869 –1959) was an American artist known for her vibrant and colorful prints of America’s (Californian) landscape.
Born in a small village called Sagetown, in Illinois, she moved to California in 1888 and began studying at the State Normal School at Los Angeles (now UCLA). After graduation she supported herself by teaching high school English.
At her first one-person exhibition in 1911 at Los Angeles’ Walker Theatre Gallery the local art critics described her as a promising colorist. Gearhart’s sisters, May and Edna, taught her printmaking after they studied at the Ipswich Summer School of Art in Massachusetts with Arthur Wesley Dow. It is estimated that she created 250 editioned prints.
Influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, Gearhart made prints that featured strong use of black or blue lines with rich colors offset against deep backgrounds. She frequently made compositions of country paths, roads, and waterways to lead the viewer into the image. The combination of her lines with atmospheric color was well suited to depict California's beautiful landscapes.
Gearhart devoted herself full-time to art in 1923. She and her sisters then set up an art gallery in Pasadena, CA, where they curated printmaking exhibitions.
Her art production declined after 1940 when her eyesight began to fail. She died in Pasadena, California. She is now recognized as one of the most important American printmakers of the early 20th century.
San Francisco-based California Society of Etchers (California Society of Printmakers)
Print Makers Society of California (PMSC)
Prairie Print Makers
American Federation of the Arts
Oakland Art Gallery
Casa de Maňana Gallery of Berkeley
San Francisco Museum of Art
Print Rooms of San Francisco
Stanford University Art Gallery
Carmel's Arts & Crafts Club
Chouinard Art Institute
Worcester Art Museum
Her work is included in numerous museum collections.