Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Donna Noreen Schuster: Interested in Everything

Donna Noreen Schuster
In the Garden
ca. N.D.

As the daughter of a Milwaukee cigar manufacturer, Donna Schuster had the family resources to study with the best painters in America. She attended the Art Institute of Chicago and, after graduation, the Boston Museum of Fine arts school. Schuster continued her education in art by accompanying noted artist William Merritt Chase on a painting tour of Belgium in the summer of 1912. As a result of her study, her work was strongly influenced by the Boston School and Impressionism as tempered by Chase.

Donna Noreen Schuster
ca. N.D.
Upon her return to the United States, Schuster moved to California in 1913 where she once again studied with Chase in Carmel. She stayed in San Francisco during the fall of 1914 where she worked on a series of watercolor sketches of the construction of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. She earned a silver medal for watercolor there, which was shown at the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art in 1914.

Donna Noreen Schuster
Tiger Lilies
ca. N.D.
During the 1920s and 1930s Schuster taught at the Otis Art Institute and was an organizer in the creation of several artists’ clubs and was a founder of The California Watercolor Society and a group that later became Women Painters of the West. Her subject matter included harbor scenes, landscapes, figure studies, and showed Cezanne's influence in her studies of water lilies in both oil and watercolor.  Indeed, her early works show the influence of Monet and Chase; however, after she studied with Stanton MacDonald-Wright, she later experimented with various modern idioms including Cubism and Abstract Expressionism.

Donna Noreen Schuster
Little Mother
ca. N.D.

Summers found Schuster at her small home in Laguna Beach where she spent her time painting and helped to establish the Laguna Beach Art Association. Her paintings recorded many areas of the Southern California landscape before it became the congested metropolis that it is, unfortunately, today.

During her early years, Schuster's art was exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the years 1914, 1917, 1920, 1927 and 1929. Later, in the 1930s, she had shows at the San Francisco Art Association, the New York Academy of Fine Art and the New York Water Color Society. In addition, Schuster exhibited with the California Watercolor Society from 1921 until the mid 1940's.

Tragically, in 1953, Schuster died, trapped inside her home as it was destroyed in a brush-fire.

Minnesota Artists, 1913 (gold medal); Blanchard Gallery (LA), 1914; LACMA, 1914, 1917, 1920, 1927, 1929; PPIE, 1915 (silver medal); Panama-Calif. Int'l Expo (San Diego), 1915 (silver medal); NW Exhibition (St Paul, MN), 1915 (silver medal); Calif. Art Club, 1915-33; SFAA, 1916; Woman’s Club (Hollywood), 1920, 1927; Calif. WC Society, 1921-42; Laguna Beach AA, 1924-30; LA County Fair, 1924, 1927; Friday Morning Club (LA), 1925; Ainslie Gallery (LA), 1926; Calif. State Fair, 1926; Bernay Gallery (LA), 1926; Artland Club (LA), 1927; Pasadena Art Inst., 1927; Ebell Club (LA), 1930; Artist’s Fiesta (LA), 1931; Palos Verdes Library, 1933; GGIE, 1939; Festival of Arts (Laguna Beach), 1949.

LACMA; Downey (CA) Museum; Oakland Museum; Fleischer Museum (Scottsdale); Irvine (CA) Museum; Orange County (CA) Museum.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
American Art Annual 1913-33; Who's Who in American Art 1936-56; Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); California Impressionism (Wm. Gerdts & Will South); Plein Air Painters (Ruth Westphal); Art of California, May 1991; Art in California (R. L. Bernier, 1916); Los Angeles Times, 1-3-1954 (obituary).

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