At the turn of the last century, California was home to many fine Impressionist painters whose works rivaled those of Europe.

One painter whose work consistently catches my breath is Hanson Duvall Puthuff, (1875-1972).  Please enjoy this brief history lesson and selection of paintings courtesy of Steven Stern Fine Arts, Beverly Hills, Frederic Stern Gallery, Beverly Hills, William A. Karges Fine Art, Beverly Hills, and Lines and Colors Blog.


Hanson Puthuff was originally from Waverly, Missouri.  He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and then at the University of Denver Art School.  He arrived in Los Angeles in 1903 and for 23 years worked as a commercial artist. He produced signs and posters for a living, and continued to paint on his own time. Puthuff lived in Eagle Rock, La Crescenta, Corona del Mar and La Cañada.

After 1926, he left commercial art to devote full time to his interest in plein air painting. Puthoff became one of the preeminent California painters working in the Impressionist style, gaining national fame for his unique style of painting the Southern California desert. His work is cataloged in the Smithsonian American Art Museum art inventory.

Puthoff made the time to be part of many fine art organizations. Memberships included being a cofounder of the California Art Club and Laguna Beach Art Association and a regular member of the California Watercolor Society; Painters and Sculptors of Los Angeles; Palette and Chisel Club, Chicago; San Francisco Art Association; Pasadena Society of Artists; Salmagundi Club, New York; and Southern States Art League.

Exhibitions included the Del Monte Art Gallery, 1908-12; Alaska-Yukon Exposition, Seattle, WA, 1909; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1914, 1917, 1929; San Francisco Art Association, 1916; California State Fair, 1930; Biltmore Salon, Los Angeles, 1930-40; Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1939.

His work won many awards: Bronze medal, Paris Salon, France, 1914; silver medals, Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, 1915; first prize, California Art Club, 1916; medals, California State Fair, 1918, 1919; first prizes, Laguna Beach Art Association, 1920, 1921; second prize, Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, 1921; medals, Painters of the West, 1925, 1927, 1930; silver medal, Pacific Southwest Exposition, Long Beach, 1928.

I hope this article has inspired you to learn more about this fine plein-air painter and visit the galleries that display his beautiful work.

Art History 101 reviews selected artists from periods of history that continue to influence today’s culture and taste. If you enjoyed this story, please feel free to share on your favorite social media. Comments appreciated! If there is an artist you would like us to feature, please comment below. Thank you for your support! 

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