Edgar Payne was born in Washburn, Missouri on March 1, 1882. Since the age of 14 his goal was to become a painter, he began his career by designing and painting scenery for the stage, and murals for homes and theaters. Primarily a self taught artist, he did though study briefly at the Art Institute in Chicago. Edgar Payne married his wife Elsie Palmer in Chicago in 1912.
Recognized as one of California's leading landscape artists, Payne earned the respect of his peers and art critics for his Impressionistic landscapes painted in the plein-air style. Possessing a reverence for nature, he especially loved the mountains, and he took pack horses in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to the upper lakes to sketch and paint.
Payne Lake in the Sierras was named in his memory. Payne glorified the Sierra Nevada Mountains Range's majestic peaks and lakes, the Swiss Alps, boats in Brittany, France and Italy, the Arizona Tablelands with Navajo horsemen and the California landscape.
He authored the book, "The Composition of Outdoor Painting", 1941. In his book Payne was quoted as saying about the process of painting, "A painter needs to study, meditate and experiment and practice interminably in order to produce a painting that would have nobility in its concept, variety, rhythm, repetition, unity, balance and harmony in its composition" -- all qualities found in Edgar Payne's works.
Edgar Payne won numerous awards, and he exhibited and sold his paintings successfully throughout his career. His works can be found in important private collections and in museums such as the Laguna Beach Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Museum, Southwest Museum of Los Angeles and the National Academy of Design Collection. He and his wife lived in Laguna Beach, California for most of his career. He was involved in the formation of the Laguna Beach Art Association and became its first president in 1920. He died in Hollywood, California on April 8, 1947. [Source: Edgar Payne Gallery]