Monday, December 29, 2014

Annita Delano: Artist and Founding Member of Art Faculty at UCLA

Annita Delano
ca. 1937
Graffito mural 4 x 7 feet
 for Dr. H.F. Ray- Housed in Oxnard, Calif.
"Delano was perhaps the local woman artist most abreast of modernist currents. Delano's modernism informed her teaching, especially her courses on design and architecture. Delano displays an awareness of the centrality of architecture and design, arguably California's greatest contribution to the unfolding of modernism in America." In addition, "Annita Delano was instrumental" in promoting the Blue Four. Delano helped friend Galka Scheyer "present several shows in the late 1920s at the Southern Branch campus of the University of California and through these exhibitions Californians could examine firsthand Feininger's Cubist paintings and Kandinsky's early spiritual abstractions, as well as the late nonobjective Bauhaus compositions."

Annita Delano's impact was felt simultaneously on several fronts: Delano the artist, Delano the art professor at the Southern Branch of the University of California (now the University of California, Los Angeles), and Delano as founder of the art department of UCLA and curator of the University's art museum.

Annita Delano (1894-1979) was born in Hueneme, California, on October 2, 1894. She attended elementary school in Los Angeles and later her family moved to Terra Bella, California, where she graduated from Porterville Union High School in 1914 as her class valedictorian. Delano enrolled in the art program at the Los Angeles Normal School before she began her career as Professor of Art in 1920.

In March 1881, after heavy lobbying by Los Angeles residents, the California State Legislature authorized the creation of a southern branch of the California State Normal School (which later became San Jose State University) in downtown Los Angeles to train teachers for the growing population of Southern California. The State Normal School at Los Angeles opened on August 29, 1882, on what is now the site of the Central Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system. Its curriculum, with a national reputation, included stagecraft, drawing, painting, life drawing, history of art, design, graphic arts, and crafts. In the latter part of the 1920s, the school was represented by an exhibition of student work at an international art conference in Vienna, Austria. Annita represented the Art Department for the University.

Annita Delano
A strip of four portrait photos of Annita Delano as a young woman,
ca. 1915.
Delano received training in art and art history from Columbia University, University of California at Berkeley and the Otis Art Institute, as well as in the studios of noted individual artists such as Dixon Morgan and Norman Bel Geddes. She spent two years conducting research with the Barnes Foundation, which provided a scholarship for a four-month research trip to Europe during 1930-1931. This trip brought her in contact with modern French masters and accelerated her development toward her own personal expression. During this period of research she spent time with Bauhaus faculty as well as with architects Richard Neutra and Josef Albers and the artist Anni Albers.

Annita Delano painting at Gallup, New
Mexico, 1934. Annita Delano papers, Archives of
American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Annita Delano was a founding member of the UCLA Art Department where she taught courses in fine art, art history and applied design. Her own paintings were widely exhibited, as part of group shows and in solo exhibitions of her work. Delano was a key figure in the development of the art world of Southern California and she was a member of a number of organizations including the California Watercolor Society and the Los Angeles Art Association.

Delano’s annual camping and painting trips include 28 summers to Arizona and New Mexico, beginning in the late 1920s. She recalled she would spend three months painting, camping and exploring each summer, living among the Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni Indians. Her artistic works were especially inspired by the landscapes of the Southwest and the Native American peoples of the region. She often attended the annual Intertribal Indian Ceremonial Gathering in Gallup, New Mexico, a large ceremonial gathering that first took place in 1922 and continues to this day.

Annita Delano
Canon Valley Landscape
ca. N.D.
30 x 21 1/4 inches
After her first solo exhibition in San Francisco and Fresno in 1929, Delano had thirty solo shows and participated in numerous exhibitions across the country, most of them in the western region of the United States. She was honored with a prestigious show at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, and an exhibition of work by living artists in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1940s, at a time when such exhibitions were not customary. After her retirement, Delano continued to paint and held three major exhibitions in California: the Cee Jee Gallery, Los Angeles, the Zara Gallery in San Francisco, and the Santa Monica Gallery, Santa Monica. 
Annita Delano
Roaring Green Lion With Chuckling Monkeys
ca. 1950
Watercolor on heavy textured rag paper
28 x 22 inches

Annita Delano
Cloud Shadows in The Grand Canyon,
 ca 1955
Oil on Canvas,
50 x 39 inches
Annita Delano spent forty-two years at UCLA, where she taught until she retired in 1962. She was critical to the growth and development of the art department into the professional school of the arts that it is at the University today. She never married and remained an independent woman for her entire life. Delano continued to paint until her death in 1979 at the age of 85.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Research Collections, Image Gallery, Annita Delano, 1937,, retrieved December 28, 2014.
Hamilton, Andrew (2004-06-18). "(UC) Los Angeles: Historical Overview". University of California History, Digital Archives (from Berkeley). Retrieved 2006-06-20.
Calisphere, University of California, Annita Delano, Art: Los Angeles,;NAAN=13030&doc.view=frames&, retrieved December 28, 2014.
Independent Spirits, Woman Painters of the American West, 1890-1945, edited by Patricia Trenton, University of California Press 1995 at page 77. Independent Spirits at page 99.
Artists of the American West, Volume II by Doris Ostrander Dawdy , Sage / Swallow Press, 1981 at 78.  Independent Spirits at page 99.
On the Edge of America, California Modernist Art 1900-1950, edited by Paul J. Karlstrom, University of California Press, 1996 in association with the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.
Karlstrom at page 10. Independent Spirits at page 96 from interview with James V. Mink, 1971, Oral History Program, UCLA.
Independent Spirits at page 80 from interview with Delano's niece.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mary Huntoon: Artist and Pioneer Art Therapist

Mary Huntoon
unknown photographer,
 Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library,
Topeka, KS, USA
Mary Huntoon was among the most innovative of Topeka's artists. Born Mary Huntoon Atkinson, she was the daughter of Ruth Huntoon Atkinson and Franklin Henry Atkinson and the descendent of prominent Topeka pioneer, Joel Huntoon. Huntoon spent six years of her childhood on the cattle ranch of her grandfather, Fred Huntoon, in Beaver County (No Man's Land), Oklahoma. At age twelve, she was rechristened Mary Huntoon Parsons and adopted by her mother's second husband, Harvey Greely Parsons.

Huntoon was inspired to develop her artistic ability by her stepfather, Harvey Parsons, a cartoonist and columnist in Topeka. Huntoon’s academic training began at Washburn University where she earned her degree in art in 1920. Huntoon studied with internationally-known portraitist and founder of the art school at Washburn, Kansas artist George M. Stone. She continued her studies at The Art Students League in New York, and grew as an artist under instructors Robert Henri, George Bridgman, Frank Vincent Du Mond, and Joseph Pennell. Pennell persuaded her to travel to Paris where she reputedly introduced Stanley Hayter to printmaking techniques. Living in the Latin Quarter for five years, Huntoon sketched the buildings, people, and surrounding city scenes in which she lived. Her works were exhibited in the Salon d’Automne of 1929, as well as at the Salon des Ind├ępendants.  Huntoon's first one-artist show was in Paris at the Galerie Sacre du Printemps in 1929.

Mary Huntoon
ca 1928

Mary Huntoon
Along the Paris Quay
ca 1931
8 1/2 x 11 inches

Mary Huntoon
ca n.d.
 7 x 8.25 inches

Despite these distinguished connections, Huntoon’s gender seemed to be a detriment. Under an assumed name, Huntoon's husband, a former reporter, mocked a reviewer's praise of her work in a letter to the editor of a Paris newspaper. He stated that "No women (sic) has distinguished herself in 5,000 years and it is a little too late to begin to hope." Public outcry at this misogynistic rant prompted record crowds at the exhibition, which was exactly the intended effect.
 Huntoon returned to Topeka in 1934 where she taught at her alma mater, Washburn College. She became state supervisor for the WPA Federal Art Project in Kansas from 1934-1938. In later years, Huntoon directed programs for the Menninger Foundation and later for the Winter Veterans Hospital becoming a pioneer in the field of art therapy from the 1930s through the 1950s. Huntoon carried out research in art therapy while she was employed at Winter V.A. Hospital and wrote several articles on the subject which were published. Huntoon believed in the power of art to heal, and encouraged her patients, whom she called "students," to engage with materials in a studio setting without external disruption. She devoted 16 years of her career to working with psychiatric patients and World War II veterans through art.  
Mary Huntoon
Fishing Shacks Marquette Michigan
ca n.d.
Oil on canvas
18 x 15 inches
Mary Huntoon
Poet's House
ca n.d.
Oil on canvas board
13 x 15 inches
Mary Huntoon
They Dreamed of Many Mansions
ca 1947
8 x 10 3/4 inches
Huntoon was married to Charles Hoyt (1920-29), Lester Hull (1933-37), Erwin Seaman (1945-1956) and Willis McEntarfar (1957-70). Mary Huntoon was a female artist with talent in a wide array of media. In addition, she was an art therapist, an author, a director (administrator), educator, lecturer, teacher, and intrepid traveler. She contributed art work to many exhibitions, won numerous awards, and her paintings and etchings are permanently displayed in the Topeka Public Library, Washburn University, the Salina Art Association, the Philadelphia Art Museum, and numerous public buildings across the state of Kansas.  __________________________________________________________________________
Bernard O. Stone, "A Historical Review: Mary Huntoon's Far Reaching Influence on the Field of Art Psychotherapy" (unpublished manuscript, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library files).
Mutual Art, Mary Huntoon,, retrieved December 19, 2014.
AskArt, The Artist's Bluebook,  Mary Huntoon,, retrieved December 19, 2014.
Art Therapy: The Journal of Art Therapy, Looking for What's Lost: The Artistic Roots of Art Therapy: Mary Huntoon, Linney Wix, MeD, ATR, Published online: 22 Apr 2011.
Patricia Trenton, Ed., Independent Spirits, Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945, University of California Press, p. 271.
Clara, Database of Women Artists, Mary Huntoon,
The University of Kansas Libraries, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, Guide to the Mary Huntoon Collection, Mary Huntoon Papers, 1876-1970,, retrieved December 19, 2014.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Elizabeth Ann Cooper: Seattle Modernist Painter

Elizabeth Ann Cooper
Untitled Cubist Self-Portrait
ca 1930s
Oil on canvas
 Martin-Zambito Fine Art
Elizabeth Ann Cooper was a highly regarded Modernist painter who worked in Seattle during the 1920s and 30s. One of the early members of the Women Painters of Washington organization, Cooper exhibited with WPW. She participated in the Northwest Annuals at the Seattle Art Institute and the Seattle Art Museum as well.

Women Painters of Washington (WPW) began as one of the earliest arts organizations in the Pacific Northwest and remains among the few statewide women’s arts associations in the United States. The group formed in 1930 after several of the prominent regional women artists attended a class conducted in Seattle by the Canadian painter Frederick Horsman Varley (1881-1969). They were dedicated to exploring modern art techniques.  In 1937, the group produced a catalogue booklet that included their biographies and artistic statements, as well as illustrations of their work

Elizabeth Cooper was born in Nottingham, England. She emigrated to the United States and attended the Mark Hopkins Art Institute in San Francisco (now the San Francisco Art Institute). Cooper moved to Seattle in the early 1920s where she was a student at the University of Washington and studied with Walter Isaacs, Eugenie Worman, and others. 
Elizabeth Ann Cooper
Untitled Still-Life with Flowers
ca 1930s
Oil on canvas
 Martin-Zambito Fine Art

Cooper was a member of the prominent Group of Twelve, Modernist artists in Seattle that included some of the major regional painters of the period such as Morris Graves, Ambrose Patterson, and Kenneth Callahan.  Cooper was inspired by modern movements in art, including the European Post-Impressionists, Cubists, and the German Expressionists. She produced some of the most daring and progressive regional art of the period.

 In her own words:
"Aims: To interpret rather than represent, to achieve good composition, that is, fine arrangement of line, mass and color, irrespective of subject matter or emotional appeal. To stimulate in others, appreciation and understanding of the aims of modern painters, who, by individual technique, endeavor to interpret life and to communicate their aesthetic experience.."

Elizabeth Ann Cooper
Untitled Two Heads
ca 1930s
Oil on canvas
 Martin-Zambito Fine Art
Elizabeth Cooper, like so many female artists, raised two children and balanced family life while creating art. In middle age, she continued to work until her untimely death in 1936. Cooper asserted that "…Art creation is not the exclusive domain of youth. Middle age and old age find in creative art a wellspring of eternal youth. Renoir, in his eighties, did his best work. Art, like mercy, is twice blessed; it blesseth him who gives and him who takes.."

Elizabeth Ann Cooper
San Francisco Street
ca 1930s
Watercolor on paper
 J. Franklin Fine Art, Inc.
1. An Enduring Legacy,Women Painters of Washington, 1930-2005, Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Bellingham, Washington, University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA, 2005, p. 65.
2. Elizabeth Ann Cooper, 1877-1936,, retrieved 12/4/2014.
4. AskArt: The Artist's Bluebook, Elizabeth Ann Cooper,, retrieved 12/4/2014.
5. Women Painters of Washington,, retrieved 12/4/2014.