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Mount Shasta as a Visual Resource

Watercolor and Traditional Landscape Artists: Early 1900s

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Albert Thomas Derome (1885-1959)

Albert Derome was one of the few artists in California to paint the scenery north of Mount Shasta, and the Upper Klamath river is known to have held a particular attraction for him. He did indeed also paint at Mount Shasta itself, in both oils and watercolors. He traveled widely; one commentator has said that between from 1918 to 1931 he possibly traveled more than any other artist in California. Percy Gray, Gunnar Widforss, and Will Sparks were at various times his sketching partners. Sparks, by the way, was the only painter to paint a scene of Klamathon, which had been in the 1890s a log dam and mill site on the Klamath river northeast of Yreka, and it is likely that he was in the company of Derome at the time. Sparks is said to have interested Derome in the direction of doing small paintings.202

Watercolor of Mount Shasta by Albert Derome. Courtesy Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California.
Watercolor of Mount Shasta by Albert Derome.
Courtesy Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California.

Albert Derome was also a good friend with William Keith and Carlos Hittell. Though he was a generation younger, Derome nonetheless went on sketching trips with the illustrious artists. When Keith died, Derome put away his oils and did not paint again for some time.

Derome's artistic background included attending the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco, and working as a commercial artist for S.F. exporters during the period 1910-1918. He later became a Trustee of the California College of Arts and Crafts.

In 1931 Derome suffered a crippling car accident, and his insurance settlement required that he never sell his paintings, presumably because he was not supposed to be able to support himself. Instead, he painted for pleasure and either gave his paintings away or kept them at home. Most of his paintings of this later period were confined to scenes in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties. The bulk of the art from his estate has recently been published in a book and forms a 'picture diary' of his life in over 500 of his oils and watercolors.203

Frank Montague Moore (1877-1967)

Frank Montague Moore produced a famous series of murals for the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California. This is a series of 41 paintings which are known collectively as the Picture Bridge, and are seen one by one on the overhead rafters as one walks through the covered bridge. The paintings were done c. 1932, and have titles such as Mt. San Jacinto, Lake Tahoe, Customs House at Monterey Harbor, etc. One of these scenes is titled Mount Shasta from Grass Lake.204 It is not known if Moore sketched the scene on location, though if he had done so, it would have been most likely a watercolor. Moore was well known as a watercolorist, and his longtime association with the scenery of the Monterey Peninsula produced many watercolor paintings of that region.

William Clothier Watts (1869-1961)

A 1932 exhibition catalog for the California Watercolor Society lists a watercolor of Mt. Shasta with the title Sunset Glow, Mt. Shasta. (1924).205 Watts was a well known artist and art instructor who lived in Carmel, California. He began as an artist in Philadelphia and at the age of 18 was exhibiting oil and watercolor paintings at the academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. A world traveler, he carried a watercolor box with him wherever he went, including China, Burma, Manchuria, Egypt, India, North Coast of Africa, Greece, Somalia, and much of Europe.206

Edward Bruce (1879-1943)

In 1932 Edward Bruce exhibited a painting of the Klamath River, priced at $1500.207 The high price reflects the fact that he was a nationally recognized artist, even though he had not taken up painting until middle age, after having been a successful lawyer and financier. He lived in California for only five years, beginning in 1929 and residing in Carmel, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco.208

[202] Dowdy. p 124.

[203] Nelson Rees.

[204] Guidebook to the Picture Bridge, The Huntington Hotel, 1932.

[205] Moure.

[206] Seavey. Monterey: The Artist's View. p.39.

[207] Moure. p. B-37.

[208] Hughes. p. 68.


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