George Gardner Symons -
A landscape and marine
artist, George Symons was one of America's more noted plein-air painters
who combined styles of impressionism and realism. His works are cited
for their energy and simplicity, and he often did panoramic views.
He was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1861, with the name of George
Gardner Simon, but he changed his last name to Symons when he returned
from study in England because of concern about anti-semitism. Not much
is known about his early life. He first studied at the Chicago Art
Institute where he became a close, life-long friend of William Wendt.
They painted together in California and then in Cornwall, England in
1898. He also studied in Paris, and Munich and London, and joining a
colony of artists at St. Ives, adopted the plein-air techniques of
Julius Olsson, Adrian Stokes, and Rudolph Hellwag.
Birch Trees and
Oil on canvas, 20 x 25 inches
He worked in Chicago as a
commercial artist, and about 1903 returned to California with Wendt and
built a studio in Laguna Beach and became active in western art
societies including the California Art Club. He returned often, but
maintained his primary studio in Brooklyn, New York, and also did a lot
of painting in Colerain, Massachusetts.
Among the collections where his work can be found are the Brooklyn
Institute of Arts and Sciences; the Art Institute of Chicago, and the
Fleischer Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona. Associations he was a member of
include the National Academy of Design, the National Arts Club, the
Institute of Arts and Letters, the Lotos, Century, and Salmagundi
Clubs. He was also a member of the Royal Society of British Artists and
the Union Internationale des Beaux Arts et des Lettres.
Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 inches
He painted entirely
out-of-doors, frequently working in Arizona, doing desert landscape and
the Grand Canyon views, which "were well received", (Dawdy 424), but he
is best known for his New England snow scenes, especially of the
Berkshire Mountains. He died in Hillside, New Jersey in 1930.
Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Doris Dawdy, Artists of the American West, Vol. III
Anonymous Author, "The Outlook for Etching", The American
Magazine of Art, March 1930
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