William Wendt was an American artist who became famous for painting the California countryside, his colleagues recognized him as the "Dean of Southern California artists". He was born on February 20, 1865 in Bentzen, Germany and later as a teenager in 1880, Wendt immigrated to the United States. For a while he lived and worked in Chicago as a staff artist where he painted formula pictures, and in his free time the young Wendt displayed a love for easel painting and began to develop a personal style of painting.
In 1894 and 1896, Wendt traveled and painted with his friend George Gardner Symons visiting England and California, and later traveled to the East Coast, Germany and France. He married the sculptress Julia Bracken in 1906, and he and his bride then made the decision to move to California. Captivated by the area's diverse landscape and challenged by the abundance of atmospheric light, he was inspired to travel to the hard to reach areas to revel in beauty of and paint the California countryside, his paintings showed a near religious reverence for nature. Wendt painted canvases graced with trees, rolling hills, blue skies and farmhouses. His earlier works have been termed tranquil and lyrical while his later works evolved to show bold and broad brushstrokes with rich greens and browns. He exhibited and sold his works successfully for thirty years at major galleries in California, Chicago, Boston and New York. William Wendt died in Laguna Beach, California on December 29, 1946. [Source: William Wendt Gallery]
In 1911, William Wendt became the first president of the California Art Club
American Federation of Arts,
Chicago Society of Artists,
Laguna Beach Art Association,
National Arts Club of New York.
Second Yerkes Prize, Chicago Society of Artists,
Bronze Medal, Buffalo Exposition
Cahn Prize, Chicago Art Institute
Kirchberger Prize, Chicago Art Institute
Silver Medal, San Francisco Exposition, 1915
Black Prize, California Art Club, 1916
Ranger Purchase Prize, National Academy of Design, 1926