James Swinnerton Oil Painting of Desert Southwest
This oil painting is by the well-known Western artist James Swinnerton (1875-1974). It is titled, “Blossoming Smoke Tree Backed by ...
moreThis oil painting is by the well-known Western artist James Swinnerton (1875-1974). It is titled, “Blossoming Smoke Tree Backed by a Young Pala (sic) Verde”. The presence of these two trees would indicate that the painting depicts somewhere in the Sonoran Desert of the Southwest (Southeastern California, Southern Arizona, Extreme Southern Nevada, northwest Mexico) The painting is composed of oil on board. It measures 11.5 x 15.5 inches (14.25 x 18.25 framed). It is signed and titled in the lower right. Based on the style, it was probably done in the 1940s or 1950s. The painting is in very good condition. The wooden frame goes well with the painting and is in very good condition.
James Guilford Swinnerton was a painter, illustrator and cartoonist born in Eureka, California on November 13, 1875. Swinnerton was raised in Santa Clara and began his art studies at the San Francisco School of Design under Emil Carlsen. At 17 he was employed as a cartoonist for the San Francisco Examiner and then moved to New York City where he continued as a cartoonist for Hearst newspapers. He became nationally famous for such cartoons as Little Jimmy, Canyon Kiddies, and Little Tiger. Ill with tuberculosis in 1903, he moved to Palm Springs, California to recuperate. The desert restored his health and inspired him to become a landscape painter. He maintained a home in Palo Alto while traveling throughout the Southwest painting desert scenes. He made frequent trips to the Navajo country and Swinnerton Arch in Monument Valley is named after him. Swinnerton died in Palm Springs on September 5, 1974.
Member: California Art Club; Bohemian Club (President 1929); Academy of Western Painters.
Exhibited: Stendahls, Los Angeles, 1920s; Bohemian Club, 1922;San Francisco Art Association, 1923; Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939.
Hughes, Edan M. Artists In California 1786-1940. 3rd ed.
Works held by: Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe, the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, and the Phoenix Art Museum, among others.
Art appraiser and curator Alissa J. Anderson described Swinnerton's work as a painter after he moved to the Southwest:
During this time, he began to explore unfamiliar regions of deserts of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. It was here where he first became entranced by the beauty of the desert. Like many artists, the sweeping and mysterious qualities of a dry wasteland became alluring to the young artist. Soon, the magnificence of monumental desert bluffs, dramatic shadows and sweeping desert skies became the primary subject matter of his painting. Swinnerton’s early paintings were highly realist, detailed depictions of an endless landscape. His subjects often focused on the exotic contradictions of the desert, a place where the parched land coexisted with thriving beauty. Many of Swinnerton’s later paintings took on more minimalist qualities with a monochromatic palette of earthen tones. Often consisting of a single tree, or unadorned sand and brush, he captured the lonely, arid landscape in all its splendor.
He painted desert scenes as a fine artist from about 1920 to 1965. In later years he had a studio in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, and the locally published Desert Magazine expanded his renown.
A natural arch in Monument Valley, Arizona, was named "Swinnerton Arch" in his honor. less
- 18.25ʺW × 1.25ʺD × 14.25ʺH
- Art Subjects
- Mid 20th Century
- Place of Origin
- United States of America
- Item Type
- Vintage, Antique or Pre-owned
- Oil Paint
- Good Condition, Original Condition Unaltered, Some Imperfections
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