• TITLE: Tiburon Waterfront
  • SIZE: 12″ X 16″
  • MEDIUM: Oil on Canvas
  • NOTES: Unfinished Painting on the Back
    Estate Letter

Train Cars with Grain

Selden-Gile-image_Fisherman_secondary

Italian Fisherman – Monterey

Boats in Harbor

Blue Bridge in Marin

The major force behind the Society of Six in the 1920s in the Bay Area of California, Selden Gile set aesthetic standards that espoused color and guided the group with the strength of his personality, physical energy, and warm hospitality.

Departing from dominant decorative and Tonalist influences of Arthur Mathews and William Keith, the Society of Six created a new landscape art of sunny reality; it was Impressionism-Fauvism applied to the California Scene.  The other painters associated with Gile in this rebellion were Maurice Logan, William Clapp, Bernard von Eichman, August Gay, and Louis Siegriest.

Gile was born in Stow, Maine, to parents from Salem, England, and was named for Seldon Connor, Governor of Maine.  The family lived on a farm, but from childhood, he was regarded as different from his boisterous, carousing brothers because of his artistic talents and apparent refinement.  He completed high school in 1894 in Fryeburg and then lived with his brother Frank in Portland, Maine, where he attended Shaw’s Business College.  Frank was head chef at the landmark Lafayette Hotel in Portland and taught Gile cooking and convivial hosting, qualities that would later serve him well in California among his artist colleagues.

General Marshall Wentworth, owner of a hostelry in Jackson, New Hampshire, where Selden worked, took an interest in the young man and arranged a job as paymaster and clerk on a vast ranch in Rocklin, California, near Sacramento. Selden’s reasons for wanting to head West are unknown, but one of his brothers loaned him fifty dollars for the journey.  His job was dangerous, requiring him to deliver the payroll from the bank to the ranch, and he carried a gun which he sometimes used to defend himself.

He fell in love with Beryl Whitney, daughter of the ranch owners, and was deeply hurt when her parents, disapproving of the relationship, sent her away to Europe and she married another man.  From that time, he had an open aversion to women. In 1905, he moved to Oakland, California, and worked as a salesman of ceramic building materials for Gladding McBean whose products became crucial in the rebuilding of San Francisco after the earthquake.

He was basically self taught as an artist and with high energy and a sturdy build, had a capacity for long hiking trips and outdoor, plein-air painting that he pursued passionately.  Few of his early paintings of California survive, but most existing ones have barns, which became a repeated symbol in his work of the artist himself.

His talents as food and drink host and provider of lodging became legendary.  He shared his house with several aspiring artists and held dinners that he prepared with skill in what was described as an all-male, raucous atmosphere.  Friendship with writer Jack London underscored Gile’s seeking out of people that were creative, romantic, assertive, and working class.

With the Six, he exhibited regularly at the Oakland Art Gallery.  In 1927, he moved north to Tiburon across the Golden Gate Bridge and after that to a houseboat in Belvedere from where he continued to paint.  However, he also fell in with a heavy drinking crowd, which affected the quality of his work and caused him to fore-go his energetic plein-air painting treks.

Indicated by his painting, Desert Bridge, Holbrook, dated 1926, Gile traveled to Arizona where, according to author and gallery owner, Alfred Harrison, his subject was Holbrook, Arizona.   Several years later, according to Harrison, Gile was in Taos, New Mexico which resulted in his painting, Woman of Taos, dated 1931.  Further evidence of Gile being in Taos is his painting, Taos, New Mexico, dated 1924, which is in the collection of the Oakland Museum.

It is likely that Gile, who was Belvedere’s only WPA mural commission artist during the Depression years, was in Taos with fellow painter, Maurice Logan.  They returned to the Southwest in 1934 according to a front page column of the Oakland Tribune February 21 of that year.

On June 8, 1947, Selden Gile died from alcoholism and is buried at the cemetery at Mt. Tamalpais, a site he loved to paint.

Sources: 

Nancy Boas, Society of Six

Timothy Burgard, Ednah Root Curator of American Art (12/05/2006 email about Gile’s painting in NewMexico and Arizona)

Timothy Burgard and Alfred Harrison, “California Landscapes from the Willrich Collection”, American Art Review, 12/2006, p. 78

Michael and Genta Holmes, Art in the Residence of the American Ambassador, Australia (photo of Taos, New Mexico painting, 1924)

 

Source: www.askart.com

  • TITLE: Kilanea Volcano
  • SIZE: 4.5″ X 9.75″
  • MEDIUM: Pastel
  • DATED: 1887

Perhaps best remembered for his volcano paintings of Hawaii, Jules Tavernier also painted notable scenes of the West. Born in Paris, Jules Tavernier had a father who was English and a French mother, and Jules claimed British citizenship. As a child he lived in both England and France. As a young man he studied with artist Felix Barrias in Paris, and in 1864 began to exhibit at the Paris Salon. He also painted in Barbizon, France.

At the start of the Franco-Prussian War, Tavernier volunteered for service. At the end of the war he took advantage of his British citizenship and moved to London where he worked as an illustrator. From London he moved to New York where he continued to work in illustration. In New York, he spent time with artist Paul Frenzeny (1840-1902), who worked at Harper’s, as did Tavernier. In 1873 the two got an assignment to travel in the West, sketching scenes for the magazine.

Tavernier and Frenzeny spent time in Missouri, Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, Utah, and various other places before arriving in San Francisco in 1874. Their sketches of the Nebraska Sioux include some of the earliest depictions of particularly sacred rituals.

In 1875 the two artists became members of the Bohemian Club in San Francisco, a group of creative people. Members were newsmen, artists, musicians, actors, and businessmen who shared an interest in the arts and camaraderie. Tavernier helped found both the Bohemian and Palette Clubs, and was also a vice-president of the San Francisco Art Association.

In 1876, Jules built a studio in Monterey, a quiet coastal town several hours south of San Francisco. Paul Frenzeny moved there too, but the two quarreled and their friendship came to an end.

Tavernier married Lizzie Fulton in 1877. Her father was from New York, and her mother was Austrian. Their marriage was troubled, as Tavernier’s habits of indebtedness and drinking took a toll.

He quarreled and ran up debts with Monterey locals, and in 1879 Tavernier returned to San Francisco where he shared a studio with Julian Rix (1850-1903) and Joseph Strong (1852-1899), with whom he had been friends in Monterey. Another friend from Monterey, Giuseppe Gariboldi, helped Tavernier get some mural commissions, including some for the Hopkins residence in San Francisco. Hopkins was one of the ‘Big Four’ railroad magnates who had built the Central Pacific Railroad.

In the early 1880s, Tavernier spent time painting in Yosemite as well as British Colombia. His debts were mounting however, and in 1884, he and Lizzie set sail for the Hawaiian Islands, escaping some of his San Francisco credit problems.

Arriving in Honolulu, he for a time shared studio space with Joseph Strong, having known Joseph and Isobel Strong from San Francisco. Strong and Tavernier went on a sketching trip to ‘the Big Island’ of Hawaii, and it was there that Tavernier first saw Kilauea, the volcano that was to become his inspiration. But the relationship between Tavernier and Strong was short-lived, due to differences in temperament.

In 1885, Tavernier began doing volcano paintings that received rave reception. He, along with Charles Furneaux (1835-1913) and Joseph Strong (1852-1899) were considered the founders of what became called the ‘Volcano School’ of painting in Hawaii, and are regarded by many as the ‘old masters’ of Hawaiian painting. Although he worked less than five years in Hawaii, Tavernier is often referred to as the premier interpreter of the volcano. Many other artists picked up the theme that he had started.

Many commissions followed for Tavernier, both for volcano paintings and views of scenic places, as well as portraits. He worked on the island of Hawaii, painting Kilauea Volcano, as well as the area around the city of Hilo. His images grew increasingly grand, and he even came up with the idea of a gigantic volcano panoramic canvas, which envisioned would travel the country.

This panorama, Tavernier’s largest volcano painting, was a canvas of vast proportion, twelve feet high by ninety feet long, and was intended to be experienced as a circular view from a stand in the center. The panorama opened to the public in Hilo in 1886 and later in Honolulu, but was little exhibited after that.

His debts and drinking continued to cause problems, and he ran up large bills for canvas, paints, and frames, often with King Brothers’ art store on Hotel Street in Honolulu. Discouraged, Lizzie left him in 1887, and returned to San Francisco. Jules was unable to leave Hawaii, as it was required that debts be paid before people set sail from the islands. The Hitchcock family of Hilo befriended him and tried to help him regain his health. In addition to his drinking, he also suffered from asthma. David Howard Hitchcock (1861-1943), considerably younger than Jules, was Tavernier’s disciple and principal student and is himself highly regarded for his interpretation of the Hawaiian landscape. The two had met in Hilo on Tavernier’s initial trip to the island of Hawaii with Joseph Strong.

For awhile he re-worked some of his Western scenes from his Hilo studio. Other western scenes were found in his Honolulu studio after his death. Volcano paintings are most often associated with his work in Hawaii, but they were only a portion of his output there. His Hawaiian work included landscapes, pictures of waterfalls, still lifes, flowers, scenes of interiors, and portraits as well. Several of his landscapes are in a long horizontal format. Some are reminiscent of the French Barbizon style of painting that had been popular during Tavernier’s student days in France.

By 1889, Jules Tavernier had died of alcoholism at his studio on Hotel Street in Honolulu. He was buried at the Oahu Cemetery in Nuuanu Valley. His friends at the Bohemian Club, on hearing of his death, sent a marker for his grave.
Source: www.askart.com

Italian Fisherman – Monterey

Train & Barn

Sailboats Belvedere

Boats in Harbor

Blue Bridge in Marin

Tiburon Waterfront

The major force behind the Society of Six in the 1920s in the Bay Area of California, Selden Gile set aesthetic standards that espoused color and guided the group with the strength of his personality, physical energy, and warm hospitality.

Departing from dominant decorative and Tonalist influences of Arthur Mathews and William Keith, the Society of Six created a new landscape art of sunny reality; it was Impressionism-Fauvism applied to the California Scene.  The other painters associated with Gile in this rebellion were Maurice Logan, William Clapp, Bernard von Eichman, August Gay, and Louis Siegriest.

Gile was born in Stow, Maine, to parents from Salem, England, and was named for Seldon Connor, Governor of Maine.  The family lived on a farm, but from childhood, he was regarded as different from his boisterous, carousing brothers because of his artistic talents and apparent refinement.  He completed high school in 1894 in Fryeburg and then lived with his brother Frank in Portland, Maine, where he attended Shaw’s Business College.  Frank was head chef at the landmark Lafayette Hotel in Portland and taught Gile cooking and convivial hosting, qualities that would later serve him well in California among his artist colleagues.

General Marshall Wentworth, owner of a hostelry in Jackson, New Hampshire, where Selden worked, took an interest in the young man and arranged a job as paymaster and clerk on a vast ranch in Rocklin, California, near Sacramento. Selden’s reasons for wanting to head West are unknown, but one of his brothers loaned him fifty dollars for the journey.  His job was dangerous, requiring him to deliver the payroll from the bank to the ranch, and he carried a gun which he sometimes used to defend himself.

He fell in love with Beryl Whitney, daughter of the ranch owners, and was deeply hurt when her parents, disapproving of the relationship, sent her away to Europe and she married another man.  From that time, he had an open aversion to women. In 1905, he moved to Oakland, California, and worked as a salesman of ceramic building materials for Gladding McBean whose products became crucial in the rebuilding of San Francisco after the earthquake.

He was basically self taught as an artist and with high energy and a sturdy build, had a capacity for long hiking trips and outdoor, plein-air painting that he pursued passionately.  Few of his early paintings of California survive, but most existing ones have barns, which became a repeated symbol in his work of the artist himself.

His talents as food and drink host and provider of lodging became legendary.  He shared his house with several aspiring artists and held dinners that he prepared with skill in what was described as an all-male, raucous atmosphere.  Friendship with writer Jack London underscored Gile’s seeking out of people that were creative, romantic, assertive, and working class.

With the Six, he exhibited regularly at the Oakland Art Gallery.  In 1927, he moved north to Tiburon across the Golden Gate Bridge and after that to a houseboat in Belvedere from where he continued to paint.  However, he also fell in with a heavy drinking crowd, which affected the quality of his work and caused him to fore-go his energetic plein-air painting treks.

Indicated by his painting, Desert Bridge, Holbrook, dated 1926, Gile traveled to Arizona where, according to author and gallery owner, Alfred Harrison, his subject was Holbrook, Arizona.   Several years later, according to Harrison, Gile was in Taos, New Mexico which resulted in his painting, Woman of Taos, dated 1931.  Further evidence of Gile being in Taos is his painting, Taos, New Mexico, dated 1924, which is in the collection of the Oakland Museum.

It is likely that Gile, who was Belvedere’s only WPA mural commission artist during the Depression years, was in Taos with fellow painter, Maurice Logan.  They returned to the Southwest in 1934 according to a front page column of the Oakland Tribune February 21 of that year.

On June 8, 1947, Selden Gile died from alcoholism and is buried at the cemetery at Mt. Tamalpais, a site he loved to paint.

Sources: 

Nancy Boas, Society of Six

Timothy Burgard, Ednah Root Curator of American Art (12/05/2006 email about Gile’s painting in NewMexico and Arizona)

Timothy Burgard and Alfred Harrison, “California Landscapes from the Willrich Collection”, American Art Review, 12/2006, p. 78

Michael and Genta Holmes, Art in the Residence of the American Ambassador, Australia (photo of Taos, New Mexico painting, 1924)

 

Source: www.askart.com