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Mount Shasta as a Visual Resource

Resident Artists of Mount Shasta: Mid-1900s

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Several local residents of the Mount Shasta region were professional or semi-professional artists, and many of their paintings still can be found in homes and businesses throughout the area. There are other artists, born before 1900, who probably deserve to be included here, and have yet to be documented.

John Warren Doty (1870-1959)

The first known artist residing in the Mount Shasta region was John Doty. He lived in the town of Sisson (now Mount Shasta City) from 1894 until 1921. A self-taught artist, he started painting while still employed in a local lumber company. His paintings of Mount Shasta were sometimes done as copies of photographs, and were sometimes original compositions. They ranged in size from small creative oil sketches to large murals. He was a professional painter for many years. He won first prize at the California State Fair in 1946.209

Mount Shasta by John Doty courtesy Richard Frey Collection.
Mount Shasta by John Warren Doty.
Courtesy Richard Frey Collection.

One interesting painting of his was done on commission from a friend who was also a bank president. Doty and the banker had been hunting and came upon a mountain lion taking down a large elk. Afterwards the banker wanted to have a painting of the event, and Doty agreed to do the painting. He painted the scene so well that finally he refused to give up the painting, which resulted in a big argument between the two men. Doty painted the scene two more times, still not to the banker's satisfaction. Nonetheless Doty never gave up that first painting.210

Doty painted Mount Shasta many times and kept his favorite painting of the mountain nailed to a wall in his Chico studio.211

A. Cedro (active 1909)

A. Cedro was a prolific painter who lived in Siskiyou County around the turn of the century. His often highly original primitive murals - frequently oil paintings on large six and seven foot wide canvases - of landscapes, farm scenes, trees, bears, mountain lions, and female nudes are still found in several buildings in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Though little is known for certain about his life, it is thought that he was a Russian emigrant who shortened his Russian name to its present form.

Mount Shasta by A. Cedro. Courtesy Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California.
Mount Shasta by A. Cedro.
Courtesy Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California.

There is something of an unsubstantiated legend about him. He was a studio painter around the turn of the century in a large city, most likely in San Francisco or Seattle. His wife left him, for reasons unknown, and in his despondency he took to drinking. He then traveled up and down California and the Pacific Northwest, painting scenes in exchange for food and drink. As a spite for his wife's leaving him, he painted nudes of her, which were happily appreciated by the various saloons which owned them. Three of these nudes are today in the Niles Hotel in Alturas, California and another is in the Elks Club of Yreka.

Yreka's historic City Meat Market (built in 1854 and still in use) has a large collection of his pastoral scenes which were painted around 1910. An old photograph of the City Meat Market shows that at one time a large twelve foot wide Cedro mural of two steer being lassoed by a horseman was installed above the entrance outside of the building and facing Main street, though that painting has now been lost. In Southern Oregon there are several murals painted by Cedro which grace the walls of the Redman Hall in Medford. These murals had been painted in 1909 for the first Redman Hall in Jacksonville, and later the paintings were moved to their present location.

Cedro was also a staff artist on one of Peary's Arctic explorations, and a painting from this trip, though still done in his primitive style, is a highly detailed look at an exploration ship, crew, and supplies amid the Arctic glaciers.212

So far little verification of the Cedro story has been found, yet the paintings themselves attest to his creativity.

Philip K. Carnine (1884-1976)

Phil Carnine was born in South Dakota, learned printing in Minneapolis, moved to Fresno, and then lived in Mount Shasta for fifty years, from 1926 until 1976. During the twenties and thirties, as a semi-professional painter, he did landscape paintings and some portraits, working in oils and watercolors. But he is reported to have stopped painting about 1940, and to have continued as a sign painter, gilder, and typesetter for the Mount Shasta newspaper. Many of his early paintings are owned by local residents.

Mount Shasta by Philip Carnine. Courtesy Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California.
Mount Shasta by Philip Carnine.
Oil on board.
Courtesy Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California.

He designed and built the Veteran's Memorial rock fountain in front of City Hall in Mount Shasta City, upon which is a small painted plaque of the mountain. He evidently was also a photographer, and one of his photos taken in 1929 from near the summit of Mount Shasta was used to illustrate the book The Mount Shasta Story by A.F. Eichorn.

Watercolor of Mount Shasta by Philip Carnine. Courtesy Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California.
Mount Shasta by Philip Carnine.
Watercolor.
Courtesy Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California.

Philip Carnine was also the author of a book of historical fiction, entitled Diamond Spike: The Autobiography of an All-American Racketeer and published by the Yreka Publishing Company around 1946. This book, written in verse, told of authentic local characters who lived in the small towns around the base of Mount Shasta.

Mount Shasta by Philip Carnine photographed by Linda Freeman.  Courtesy of the Sisson Museum.
Mount Shasta and Black Butte by Philip Carnine.
Courtesy of the Sisson Museum.

Edward F. Stuhl (1887-1984)

Edward Stuhl courtesy of the Meriam Library, CSU Chico. Edward F. Stuhl was Mount Shasta's best-known resident artist. Born in Budapest, Hungary, and raised in Austria, he lived a long and vital life as caretaker, ranger, and naturalist for many private and public concerns in Siskiyou County and northern California. His background included education in aristocratic private schools in Austria,213 and graduation from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. His father, the owner of a stained glass factory, sent him to Chicago in 1910 to work in a stained glass studio. However, once in the U.S., he quickly gave up working in glass and became a naturalist, taking up watercolor painting as an avocation.

His life's work was his decades-long project of painting watercolors of all the wildflowers of Mount Shasta. The notion of a naturalist-artist working hard on watercolor 'botanicals', that is, plant illustrations, might seem odd in modern times. Yet his is actually an old tradition that goes back many centuries in the history of art and science. Mr. Stuhl's lifestyle somewhat rejected modern conventions of how to live, and he continued in old age to climb mountains, paint, and live without telephones. His profound familiarity with Mount Shasta made him an ardent conservationist, and it hurt him deeply when areas of rare flowers and beautiful trees were removed.214

Mount Eddy at Sunset viewed from near the Shasta Alpine Lodge by Edward Stuhl. Courtesy of Montagne Collection.
Mount Eddy at Sunset viewed from near the Shasta Alpine Lodge by Edward Stuhl.
Watercolor, 6 x 10 in.
Courtesy Montagne Collection.

In his book, Wildflowers of Mount Shasta, Edward Stuhl states that one of the things that first brought him to Mount Shasta was a painting - "Furthermore, in the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento, I saw a painting by William Keith, 'Mount Shasta'. It presented a noble snowy peak towering over sunny meadows and above shadowy forests into a cerulean sky."215 It is fitting that one artist led another artist to appreciate California's 'Keystone of Mountain Scenery'. During his lifetime Mr. Stuhl also painted scores of Mount Shasta views, which were usually sold to help supplement his modest income.


[209] Hughes. p. 133

[210] Story courtesy Richard Frey.

[211] Ibid.

[212] A photograph of this painting was seen at the Miner's Deli in Yreka.

[213] Information about Edward Stuhl's education courtesy of Mrs. Tanner, neighbor and close friend of Mr. Stuhl.

[214] Ibid. Before his death Mr. Stuhl had vowed to keep the mountain free from further development. One reason was that a ski area had become a summer time eyesore, and its construction had helped to destroy fragile wildflower habitats.

[215] Stuhl. p. 14.

 

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