Edgar Alwin Payne

American, 1883 - 1947
Edgar Alwin Payne (1883-1947)

Born in Washburn, Missouri on March 1, 1883, Edgar Payne left home at age 14 and found work painting houses, stage sets, and signs. His travels took him through the Ozarks and into Mexico. Except for a brief period at the Art Institute of Chicago, he remained a self-taught artist.

On Edgar Payne's first visit to California in 1909, he spent several months painting in Laguna Beach before visiting San Francisco. While in San Francisco he met artist Elsie Palmer whom he married in Chicago in 1912. In 1917 Edgar Payne returned to Glendale, California with a commission from Chicago's Congress Hotel for a mural of 11,000 square yards of muslin which was accomplished with the help of other local artists and installed shortly thereafter.

In 1918, the Payne’s established a home and studio in Laguna Beach where he organized and became the first president of the local art association. Edgar Payne continued painting and exhibiting in Los Angeles and Laguna until 1922 when he and Elsie began a two-year painting tour of Europe. During the next eight years their winter residence was mainly in and around New York City. They traveled from coast to coast in the U.S. until 1932 when they returned to Hollywood and the following year separated.

Edgar Payne is internationally famous for his canvases depicting Indians riding through desert canyons and landscapes of the Sierra Nevada. He produced a color motion picture called "Sierra Journey" and Payne Lake in the High Sierra is named for him.

Edgar Payne died in Hollywood, CA on April 8, 1947.

Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California 1786-1940"
Edgar Alwin Payne
Born Missouri, 1883
Died California, 1947

At the age of fourteen, Edgar Payne left his childhood home of Washburn, Missouri, to travel the United States and Mexico. Payne survived by performing odd jobs including painting signs, stage sets, and houses. Payne, who had a fifth grade education, considered himself to be primarily self-taught. However, he received art training at the Payne-Morris Studio in Dallas, Texas, and at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Beginning in 1910, Payne found employment painting murals in civic buildings, courthouses, and theatres throughout the Midwest. He married fellow artist, Elsie Palmer, in 1912.

In 1915, Payne moved with his family to Santa Barbara, California where he began to focus more of his time on easel painting. While in California, Payne continued to work part time painting murals, earning a large commission from the Congress Hotel in Chicago in 1917. When not working commercially, Payne painted marine and Sierra Nevada scenes. He traveled often in the Sierras, where a lake is named for him, and throughout the Southwest.

Payne relocated to Laguna Beach, California, in 1919 where he became the founding president of the Laguna Beach Art Association (presently the Laguna Art Museum). In addition to his membership with the Laguna Beach Art Association, Payne was also a member of the California Art Club in Los Angeles; the Palette and Chisel Club in Chicago; and the Salmagundi Club in New York.

Payne traveled, painted, and exhibited in Europe between 1922 and 1924. In 1923, he was included in the Paris Salon.

Exhibited: California State Fairs, 1917 (prize), 1918 (prize); the Sacramento State Fair, 1918 (gold); Sacramento, 1919 (medal); Art Institute of Chicago, 1920 (prize); Southwest Museum, 1921 (prize); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annuals, 1921-22, 1925; Paris Salon, 1923; National Academy of Design, 1929 (prize); Golden Gate Exposition, San Francisco, 1939; California Artists Club, 1947 (prize).

Works Held: American Theatre, Chicago (mural); Art Institute of Chicago; Nebraska Clay County Courthouse, Brazil, Indiana; Empress Theatre, Chicago (mural); Hendricks County Courthouse, Danville, Indiana; Herron Art Institute; National Academy of Design; Indianapolis Museum; Nebraska Artists Association, Lincoln; Pasadena Art Institute; Queen Theatre, Houston; Peoria Society of Allied Artists; Southwest Museum, Los Angeles; Springville Museum of Art, Utah; University of Nebraska Galleries.

Further Reading: Artists in California, 1786-1940, Edan Milton Hughes, Hughes Publishing, San Francisco, 1986.; California Grandeur and Genre: From the Collection of James L. Coran and Walter A. Nelson-Rees, Iona M. Chelette, Katherine Plake Hough and Will South, Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California, 1991.; Early Artists in Laguna Beach: the Impressionists, Janet Blake Dominik, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California, 1986.; The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, Peggy and Harold Samuels, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1976.; Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, Vol. 3. Peter Hastings Falk, Georgia Kuchen and Veronica Roessler, eds., Sound View Press, Madison, Connecticut, 1999. 3 Vols.

Biography courtesy of David Cook Galleries, www.antiquesandfineart.com/davidcook
Edgar Payne was a chiefly self-taught artist who left home at the age of 14 to travel through the Ozarks to Mexico, painting houses, stage sets and signs. He later became well known for his landscape paintings of the Sierra Mountains, Arizona and New Mexico. In 1912 Paxton settled in Laguna Beach. He developed his own painting technique by adding dark tones to all the colors he mixed, therefore achieving a unified harmony throughout the entire composition. Paxton also used bold brushwork by painting with a bristle brush and palette knife. Paxton painted a giant mural for the Congress Hotel in Chicago, 26,000 square feet of canvas for 11 floors. After traveling through Europe, he returned and published a book titled "Composition of Outdoor Painting" and also produced a color motion picture "Sierra Journey". Beside his many personal endeavors, Paxton also founded and was first president of the Laguna Beach Art Association and established a leading art colony on the West Coast.

Biography courtesy of The Caldwell Gallery, www.antiquesandfineart.com/caldwell
Edgar Payne was born in Washburn, Missouri on March 1, 1883. Payne left home at age 14 and found work painting houses, stage sets and signs. Except for a brief period at the Art Institute of Chicago, Payne remained a self-taught artist. On his first visit to California in 1909 he spent several months painting scenes ofach before visiting Catalina Island, Santa Barbara and San Francisco. In 1918 the Paynes established a home and studio in Laguna Beach where he organized and became the first president of the Laguna Beach Art Association. He continued painting and exhibiting in Los Angeles and Laguna until 1922 when he took a two year painting trip of Europe. The next eight years winters were mainly spent in New York City. The Paynes travelled from coast to coast in the United States until 1932 when they returned to Hollywood. Payne is internationally renowned for his depictions of the High Sierras, Indians riding through desert canyons, landscapes of the Sierra Nevada and French and Italian boats scenes., as well as authoring a book titled "Composition of Outdoor Painting", which is now in its seventh printing, seventh edition and used by artists, teachers and collectors around the world. He died in Hollywood on April 8, 1947.

Biography courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts, www.antiquesandfineart.com/derus
Landscape painter, muralist. Born in Washburn, Missouri on March 1, 1883. Payne left home at the age 14 and found work painting houses, stage sets and signs. His travels took him through the Ozarks and into Mexico. Except for a brief period at the Art Institute of Chicago, he remained a self-taught artist. On his first visit to California in 1909 he spent several months painting in Laguna Beach before visiting San Francisco. While in San Francisco, he met artist Elsie Palmer whom he married in Chicago in 1912. In 1917 he returned to Glendale, California with a commission from Chicago's Congress Hotel for a mural of 11,000 square yards of muslin which was accomplished with the help of other local artists and installed shortly thereafter.

In 1918, the Paynes established a home and studio in Laguna Beach where he organized and became the first president of the local art association. He continued painting and exhibiting in Los Angeles and Laguna until 1922 when he and Elsie began a two year painting tour in Europe. During the next eight years their winter residence was mainly in and around New York City. They traveled from coast to coast in the United States until 1932 when they returned to Hollywood. Payne is internationally famous for his paintings depicting Indians riding through desert landscapes and canyons of the Sierra Nevada. His landscapes of Laguna and the surrounding area are also quite popular.

Public Collections:
Chicago Art Museum
John Herron Art Institute of Indianapolis
Laguna Beach Museum of Art
Nation Academy of Design Collection
National Collection of Fine Arts, Senate Building, Washington D.C.
Pasadena Art Institute
Pasadena Art Museum
Southwest Museum of Los Angeles
Springville Museum of Art, Springville, Utah
University of Nebraska Galleries


Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries, www.antiquesandfineart.com/roughton
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