Jessie Arms Botke

American, 1883 - 1971
Jessie Arms Botke
Born Illinois, 1883
Died California, 1971

Jessie Arms Botke was born in Chicago on May 27, 1883. At a very early age she developed an interest in art and began taking art classes at the Institute of Chicago even before she entered high school. After she got her high school diploma from Lake View High School, she enrolled at the Art Institute as a full-time student and continued there until 1905. Over the summers, she studied with John C. Johansen at Saugatuck, MI and Charles Woodbury at Ogunquit, ME. While still continuing her education at the Art Institute, she worked as a decorator and book illustrator for many years. In 1909, after a brief trip to Europe, she was commissioned to do a decorative frieze in Chicago. Soon after, she moved to New York and was hired by Herter Looms doing tapestry cartoons and decorations. In 1914, she significantly developed her skills painting birds. Her work was so impressive that Albert Herter himself recognized her talents and requested that she handle all of his tapestry commissions for the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

In 1915, Jessie returned to Chicago and married Cornelius Botke of Leonia, New Jersey. Cornelius was also an artist, and the couple resided in the Chicago where they worked together on many murals. In 1919, they moved the to California and ultimately settled on a farm in Wheeler Canyon, Santa Paula.

Botke was a member of the California Art Club, the California Water Color Society and the Foundation of Western Art. She won numerous prizes including high distinction from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Works held: Art Institute of Chicago; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Municipal Gallery, Chicago; Mills College, Oakland; San Diego Museum.

Exhibitions: Paris Salon, Los Angeles Museum; California Palace of the Legion of Honor; National Academy of Design; Art Institute of Chicago; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Springville (Utah) High School, 1928; Gardenia High school, Los Angeles; Mills College, Oakland; Fleischer Museum, Scottsdale, Arizona; Irvine Museum, California.

Solo Exhibitions: Paul Elder Gallery, San Francisco (1930); Vose Galleries, Boston (1930); Grand Central Art Galleries, New York (1930, 1962);

Further Reading: Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, Vol. 1. Peter Hastings Falk, Georgia Kuchen and Veronica Roessler, eds., Sound View Press, Madison, Connecticut, 1999. 3 Vols. (Original Listing 1940).; An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West, Phil Kovonick, Marian Yoshiki-Kovnick, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1999, 3rd Edition.; Artists in California (1786-1940), Edan Milton Hughs, Hughs Publishing Company, San Francisco, 1986, 1st edition.

Biography courtesy of David Cook Galleries,
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