Tuesday Art ATTACK- William Wendt "Nature Smiles"

By Christian Franzen

William Wendt was born on February 20th, 1865 in Bentzen Germany. When Wendt's family moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1880 he began to take an interest in painting. At the age of fifteen Wendt spent much of his time painting outdoors developing his unique landscape approach. During his youth in Chicago he also worked in a factory painting formula pictures; which hated. This lead him to pursue more spontaneity within his own works.

Between 1894 and 1896 Wendt took time to travel the United States as well as internationally with his friend George Symons to find scenes for their paintings. After returning he married the sculptress Julia Bracken in 1906. The two of them decided to settle in California that same year. The California landscape proved a perfect environment for Wendt's paintings. He would often hike into remote areas of the California coastal region looking for inspiration. 

Wendt's unique take on landscape painting paired beautifully with the rich colors and diverse landscape of California. Being well respected both in California as well as nationally Wendt earned the title "the dean of Southern California artists". In 1911, Wendt was elected the first President of the California Art Club where he oversaw many state wide exhibitions and contests. He showed in major California galleries as well as galleries in Chicago, Boston, and New York until his death in December of 1946.

The Old New World, 1925

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