Lundy Siegriest "Monuments of War"
Cityscape oil on canvas by important California abstract expressionist painter Lundy Siegriest. "Monuments of War" Signed and dated 1949. Measures H 28 in. x W 34 in. x D 2 in.
Works held: Oakland Museum of California; San Francisco Museum of Art; Stanford Museum; University of Nevada, Nevada. Original period frame measures 33.75" x 39'75".
Louis Siegriest was born on February 24, 1899 in Oakland, California. His parents encouraged his artistic talents and enrolled him in art classes when he was 15 at the California School of Arts and Crafts under Perham Nahl. He won a comic strip contest in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1916. Making friends with another artist, Bernard Von Eichman at 17, the two boys transferred to the California School of Fine Arts to study under Frank Van Sloun. Around 1917, Siegriest along with Von Eichman joined a group of artists in Oakland consisting of Maurice Logan, Selden Gile, August Gay, and William Clapp. This group was also known as the Society of Six.
Eventually when Frank Van Sloun left the school, Siegriest went to study with him until 1919. Van Sloun’s belief in training his students in American Art and themes reflecting the real world and not the old European styles would be instilled within Louis. While continuing to paint, Louis also worked as a commercial artist. His postering styles would be very different from his paintings reflecting a bold yet simple style. In 1921-23, he worked as a commercial artist for various companies in Seattle.
He married Mabel Lundy in 1922 in Seattle, and returned to the Bay Area in 1923. He continued his work as a commercial artist in Dallas in 1926 but eventually moved back. During this period, much of his work was influenced by the Fauves with their bright bold colors. In the 1930s with the Depression looming over America, Siegriest’s works began to reflect a more somber theme. He worked for San Francisco Chronicle for two years in the advertising department and freelanced on the side. He lived in Chicago for five years as a commercial artist while teaching at the Layton Art School in Milwaukee and painting outdoors everyday.
He separated with his wife in 1941 and moved to Virginia City, Nevada where he produced a series of documentary ink drawings. These drawings would be converted to a series of paintings. In 1948, he officially divorced and moved back to the Bay Area to teach at the Art League of California until 1951. He met Edna Stoddart, niece of Wyatt Earp, and married in 1958. He suffered a stroke in 1974 but continued to paint until his eyesight failed him. He exhibited every year and died on November 7, 1989. He is the only member of the Society of Six to transition to postwar contemporary art. He has a distinguished place in California art history and can be traced from the beginnings of California modern art to the present.
Exhibited: Society of Six, Oakland; Oakland Art Gallery, 1923-28; Gump’s, San Francisco, 1931, 1933, 1946; Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1939; Crocker Museum, Sacramento, 1946; de Young Museum, San Francisco, 1952; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1952; Oakland Museum, 1954, 1960, 1972, 1979; California State Fair, 1950s; University of California, Berkeley, 1963; San Francisco Art Center, 1964; San Francisco Art Institute, 1965; Triangle Gallery, San Francisco, 1969-85; Oakland Museum, 1972, 1981; Whitney Museum, New York, 1973; Campbell Gallery, San Francisco, 1980.
Artists in California: 1786-1940 by Edan Milton Hughes