Burton Boundey (1879-1962)

Burton Shepard Boundey was born in 1879 in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The son of a house painter, Boundey had to work for three years after high school in order to afford enrollment in the Chicago Art Institute. He was immediately placed in the advanced class. Boundey switched to the Chicago Art Academy in order to study drawing from live models, but without financial support, was only able to attend classes sporadically. For five years he scraped by with assorted jobs, including one as Academy janitor that allowed him to sleep nights in the unheated classroom.

In 1907 Boundey headed west, working briefly in Oregon painting theater backdrops before landing in Los Angeles in 1908. There he joined the Los Angeles Painter’s Club, where he sold his first painting. Still finances burdened him, and he was forced to pick oranges, painting when he could. In 1909, Boundey moved to San Jose, where he met his future wife (Letitia Brown).

Boundey then returned East, this time to New York City, where he became standout pupil of Robert Henri and George Bellows. His fellow students included George Luks and William Glackens. His time in New York was short lived, however, as he returned to his birthplace in 1910 to aid his ailing father. During this period, he designed a “tiny portable studio on runners which could be pushed about on the ice, where he painted winter scenes of skaters and ice boats.”

He and Letitia were married in 1924 and moved to Monterey in 1926, where he devoted himself full-time to his painting. The couple built a studio in 1930, which quickly became a gathering place for local artists. Deeply committed to the local art community, Boundey became a founding member of the Carmel Art Association and served as its president. He also taught at the Carmel Art Institute and the Monterey Union Adult School while maintaining an active exhibition schedule.

After the war, the Boundeys traveled the Southwest, settling in Pacific Grove, where he continued to paint and teach. He died of a heart attack at the age of 83 in 1962.

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