Edgar Alwin Payne
Born: 1883 – Washburn, Missouri
Died: 1947 – Hollywood, California
Born in Washburn, Missouri on March 1, 1883, Edgar Payne left home at age 14 and found work painting houses, stage sets, and signs. His travels took him through the Ozarks and into Mexico. Except for a brief period at the Art Institute of Chicago, he remained a self-taught artist.
On his first visit to California in 1909, he spent several months painting in Laguna Beach before visiting San Francisco. While in San Francisco he met artist Elsie Palmer whom he married in Chicago in 1912. In 1917 he returned to Glendale, California with a commission from Chicago’s Congress Hotel for a mural of 11,000 square yards of muslin which was accomplished with the help of other local artists and installed shortly thereafter.
In 1918, the Paynes established a home and studio in Laguna Beach where he organized and became the first president of the local art association. He continued painting and exhibiting in Los Angeles and Laguna until 1922 when he and Elsie began a two-year painting tour of Europe. During the next eight years their winter residence was mainly in and around New York City. They traveled from coast to coast in the U.S. until 1932 when they returned to Hollywood and the following year separated.
Payne is internationally famous for his canvases depicting Indians riding through desert canyons and landscapes of the Sierra Nevada. He produced a color motion picture called “Sierra Journey” and Payne Lake in the High Sierra is named for him.
He died in Hollywood, CA on April 8, 1947.
Salmagundi Club (NYC); California Art Club (pres. 1926); Laguna Beach Art Association; Chicago Society of Artists; AAPL; Carmel Art Association
Palette & Chisel Club, 1913; California State Fairs, 1917, 1918 (medals); Ten Painters of Los Angeles, 1919; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1919 (solo); Art Institute of Chicago, 1920 (prize); Southwest Museum (LA), 1921 (prize); Paris Salon, 1923; National Academy of Design, 1929 (prize); Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939; California Art Club, 1947 (prize).
National Academy of Design, New Mexico Art Association; Art Institute of Chicago; Orange Co. (CA) Museum; Irvine (CA) Museum; Chicago Museum; Indianapolis Museum; Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley); Pasadena Art Inst.; Pasadena Museum; Southwest Museum (LA); Springville (UT) Museum; Fleischer Museum (Scottsdale); Oakland Museum.
Edan Hughes, “Artists in California, 1786-1940”
The Paynes: Edgar & Elsie by Rena N. Coen; Plein Air Painters (Ruth Westphal); Design 1910; Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); Artists of the American West (Samuels); American Art Annual 1919-33; Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); Los Angeles Painters of the 1920s; Who’s Who in American Art 1936-41; NY Times, 4-9-1947 (obituary).