Golden Dawn member Theodosia Moore Durand (1863-1949). Her life-by-dates from 1927 to March 1949, when she died.
As with my life-by-dates of Isabel de Steiger I shall be typing what happened in Italics, and the sources and my comments in my usual Times New Roman. Thanks for lots of the information given below, to Ted Harwood of California who found most of it on www.newspapers.com and other similar websites.
There are several other files on Theodosia’s life, which you can find via my GD index page under these Durand sub-headings:
- In the GD; and a biography of James Madison Durand
- the Moore family; and Theodosia as an artist
- Theodosia: life-by-dates 1914 to spring 1926
I have to begin this last file on the life of Theodosia Durand by saying that the period February 1926 to June 1928 is a complete blank: neither Ted Harwood nor I I could find any sources online that mention her.
Theodosia attended a lunch event in Santa Rosa. The speeches were all about traffic safety.
Comment by Sally Davis: cars getting to be a nuisance, and dictating how the town shall be laid out; I daresay.
Source, seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection: Santa Rosa Press Democrat volume 55 number 147 issued Wed 20 June 1928: Theodosia wasn’t one of the speakers.
LATE 1928 and 1929: did Theodosia go to see these art shows?
The L’École de Paris exhibition at the East West Gallery showed works by Picasso, Braque, Lhote, Derain , Marcel Roche and Oudot. It was organised by Lucien Labaudt who had spent the summer in Paris, chosing what was to be in the show. Two exhibitions held in 1929 tat he Oakland Art Gallery showed works by Kandinsky, and by German expressionist painters including Emil Nolde and Oscar Kokoschka.
Sources for the L’Ècole de Paris exhibition:
American Art Journal volume 24 number 4 1984: news feature called West Coast, by Paul J Karlstrom and using Labaudt’s own papers to examine how he kept up friendships with artists like Matisse and Léger, while at the same time developing new friendships with California-based artists in the 1920s and 1930s. After San Francisco, the L’École de Paris show went on to Los Angeles and Portland Oregon.
Letter now in the Labaudt Papers; quote from it seen by me at yungee.com. From André Lhote to Labaudt 10 August 1928, Lhote wondering where the paintings he’s sent have got to; works by Picasso, Braque, Derain, Marcel Roche and Oudot; and Lhote himself.
Sources for the exhibitions at the Oakland Art Gallery:
Seen at //publishing.cdlib.org, the University of California Press E-books Collection 1982-2004.
On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art 1900-1950 edited by Paul J Karlstrom. University of California Press Ltd: Berkeley, Los Angeles and London 1996.
At www.sothebys.com you can see one of the works by Kandinsky that were shown in Oakland in 1929: Deutliche Verbindung (Clear Connection). Painted December 1925. It was sold at Sotheby’s in March 2017 for £1½ million.
Comment by Sally Davis: though individual artists – like Theodosia herself – had gone to train in Europe before; and some European artists (like Labaudt and Theodosia’s acquaintance Stefania Pezza for example) had come to work in California; these exhibitions brought modern European paintings to the West Coast in large numbers and different styles. If she did go to see any or all of these exhibitions, Theodosia may have come away from them feeling that her knowledge of the French art scene was getting a bit out of date.
3 JANUARY 1929
Theodosia’s mother, Anna Elizabeth (Annie) Mastin Moore died, at 930 Cherry Street Santa Rosa. She was buried in the family plot in Santa Rosa’s Oddfellows’ cemetery.
Source: the Moore family plot entry at www.findagrave.com, with posted newspaper cutting of an obituary written by Herbert W Slater, a reporter who worked for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
Theodosia read a paper on the history of the Moore family, at meeting of the Sonoma County Pioneers’ Society.
Source: Santa Rosa Press Democrat Thursday 22 August 1929 p7.
Comment by Sally Davis: perhaps her mother’s death had inspired Theodosia to look into the history of her family. She was now the only one of Annie’s children still living in California, the state her parents had come to the in the 1850s.
Theodosia’s sketches of local college girls having swimming lessons in the local swimming pool were shown at Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.
Source: seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection: [Santa Rosa] Oak Leaf volume 4 number 3 issued 25 October 1929, which mentioned that Theodosia was living in Santa Rosa, in a house opposite the pool.
1 APRIL 1930
On the day of the United States census, Theodosia was living, on her own, in Santa Rosa.
Source seen at Familysearch: NARA census 1930 District ED49 Santa Rosa Sonoma Co California.
Comment by Sally Davis: the age Theodosia gave the census official suggested she’d been born in 1871: 8 years after she actually was.
EARLY APRIL 1930
Paintings belonging to Theodosia, and estimated by her to be worth $5000, disappeared.
Source: seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat issue of 12 April 1930 p1.
Comment by Sally Davis: I think Theodosia must have got all her art works together as part of the preparations for her return to Europe. She must have found out where they had gone, by the summer of 1932, when 300 works of hers were on show at her studio in Santa Rosa.
SOON AFTER APRIL 1930
Theodosia went back to Paris, with some sources suggesting she was going to live there permanently. Around the time that she left, her mural Youthful Heroes was on display at a library in Santa Rosa.
Sources for her departure, newspaper cutting sent by Ted Harwood attached to an email of 11 September 2020. Ted couldn’t send the date of the report, or the title of the newspaper, but it must be the Santa Rosa Press Democrat for reasons given below. The item is headed “Mme Durand Frieze Exhibited at Library”; naming the work as Youthful Heroes and describing it as “Highly decorative in character”. It had been loaned to the Library by E L Finley as President of the Library Board. The item said that Theodosia had left for Europe on the previous Wednesday. She’d be sailing from New York “next week”, heading for Paris “where she expects to make her future home”.
Comment by Sally Davis on Youthful Heroes’ owner. The Frieze had been bought by Ernest Latimer Finley, and had been loaned to the Library to encourage other local owners of art works to do the same. Finley was the owner and editor of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat; since 1927 he’d also owned the Santa Rosa Republican. I think he was a friend of Theodosia’s family; more specifically, her younger brother Alva Porter Moore (born 1877) who became a journalist but died young. Finley had been born in Oregon in 1870 but his family had lived in Sonoma County from 1876. In 1895 Finley had bought all three of Santa Rosa’s newspapers and merged them as the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. A tireless promoter of Santa Rosa and defender of its reputation, Finley used his newspapers to promote conservation, and humanitarian causes that were often unpopular with his readers. He founded the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Sonoma County Fair Association; and on a wider scale campaigned for the building of the Golden Gate Bridge. His History of Sonoma County California: its People and its Resources was published by his newspaper group in 1937 to celebrate the Bridge’s opening. He died in 1942.
Sources for E L Finley:
At //digital.sonomalibrary.org, the Sonoma County Library Digital Collection: a photograph of him from 1941 and a short profile.
At santarosahistory.com a posting from January 2015 Ernest Finley Party Animal - shows him letting his hair down in 1911.
Source for the library where Youthful Heroes went on display. At sonomalibrary.org, the website of the Sonoma County Library and official archive, there is a detailed timeline of the very large number of libraries, public and private, that were founded in Sonoma County from 1858. I think the library which had Theodosia’s Frieze on display was probably the Santa Rosa Library, built in 1904 on the corner of 4th and E streets.
Theodosia was living in Paris, in the set of artists’ studios at 65 boulevard Arago. While she was there she wrote a newspaper column called Letter (later ‘Letters) to the Layman, about art and culture in Europe.
Comment on the sources for this period, by Sally Davis: Theodosia wrote Letter to the Layman for the Sunday edition of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Ted Harwood sent me some of the columns she wrote – numbers 7 and 8, 10-14, 21-29, you can see that it was a regular commitment - but he wasn’t able to include the dates of publication. I tried looking for them on the web myself, without success. Due to the limitations of sending items like this by email, I also can’t read most of what the columns said. Which is a pity.
I could read some of the report “Madam Durand Back in Paris”, which quoted the letter Theodosia sent announcing her arrival and giving her new address; and which promised its readers the regular column. In her letter, Theodosia had said that she had lived in the same set of studios for six years with her husband, many years before. She said she had been surprised to find that Paris hadn’t changed as much as she had expected (she had been away nearly 20 years, through war and economic collapse).
Something I could read on all the Letter(s) to the Layman that Ted Harwood sent me was the description of Theodosia as former Director of Fine Arts, University of Washington: those were the credentials on which Theodosia’s authority to write such a column was based; but she had only been in that post for about a year, in 1918/19.
Comments on the address by Sally Davis: boulevard Arago is in the Croulebarbe-Montparnasse district, part of Paris’s 14th arondissement. The studios that make up number 65 are next to the Santé Prison. They were built in a rustic style in two long rows with a garden between and were known as the Cité Fleurie. Among the other artists who’d rented studios in it at different times were Rodin, Gauguin, Modigliani and Ford Madox Ford.
Sources for 65 boulevard Arago:
Dawn of the Belle Époque: the Paris of Monet, Zola...and their Friends by Mary S McAuliffe. Rowman and Littlefield 2011: p80 in a section on Sarah Bernhardt.
Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life by Max Saunders. Volume 2 Oxford University Press 1996 reissued 2012 with a new preface: p133 which is about 1923.
Theodosia’s house in King Street, Santa Rosa, was sold to Charles Johnson.
Newspaper cutting sent to me in an email by Ted Harwood September 2020. Ted couldn’t send me the newspaper’s name but it’s likely to be the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. The cutting showed a small ad headed Sale of Two Local Homes Announced. It names the buyer and says that Theodosia “has been travelling abroad for the past two years”. The real estate firm handling the sale was Barnett and Reading.
I could see references to Barnett and Reading operating in Santa Rosa in 1926 and still in 1935:
Seen at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection: Santa Rosa Press Democrat volume 52 number 311 issued 12 September 1926 p15 in the small ads.
At www.newspapers.com, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat issue of 20 February 1935 p3.
Theodosia returned from Paris to the United States.
Theodosia’s name on a passenger list for those arriving in New York on 26 May 1932 on the SS Rotterdam from Boulogne. Retrieved by Ted Harwood and sent to me in an email August 2020.
Healdsburg Tribune issue of 29 July 1932.
MAY or JUNE 1932
While in New York Theodosia showed some of her art work to people, including Alfred H Barr, the new director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).
Source: undated and unidentified newspaper cutting sent in an email by Ted Harwood 11 September 2020. Item headed: “Madame Durand, writer and artist, returns from Paris”.
Comment on the source: I think the item was published in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and it’s interesting that the report described her as a writer first; and artist second. The item included a quote from Barr on Theodosia’s work, saying – wrongly – that she was a niece of Asher Durand.
At www.moma.org, Alfred H Barr was MOMA’s first Director. He was appointed for its opening, in 1929 and remained in post until 1943. As far as I know, MOMA never showed any of Theodosia’s work.
PROBABLY JUNE or JULY 1932
On her way to California, Theodosia stopped off at Kansas City station and spent two hours with her brother Virgil Moore; the first time they had met for several decades.
Source seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection: Healdsburg Tribune number 88 15 February 1934: obituary of Virgil Moore who had just died in Kansas City; with details supplied by Theodosia.
A new art school opened at Santa Rosa; with Theodosia teaching fine art and Etta Barnes Cox of Healdsburg draughtsmanship, colour theory, design and costume making. As part of the opening festivities there was an exhibition of paintings taken out of store in the Claus Spreckles mansion in San Francisco, and some murals from the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts.
Source for the opening, seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection: Healdsburg Tribune number 226 issued 29 July 1932 p1. The item was an announcement of the forthcoming opening ceremony. It focused mostly on Etta Barnes, and her husband Clifford Cox, as they were both from Healdsburg.
Ted Harwood found another report on the new art school; sent in an email 11 September 2020 and probably from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat but without a date. This item covered the opening of the art school, which it called a school of design rather than art. It would be at Third and Davis and it was hoped that there would be a gallery and a museum. This report got Etta Barnes Cox’s name wrong – it called her Ella. It mentioned that Theodosia had recently returned after a time in Paris catching up with recent art trends.
Comments by Sally Davis: I couldn’t find any evidence of Etta Barnes Cox as an artist or designer; though designers are difficult to research as so much of their work went uncredited at the time. I did find a reference to her at //ancestors.familysearch.org, family tree of Clifford Laurence Cox (1885-1981) of Healdsburg California. Etta Barnes’ dates are given as 1896-1996. There were two children: Joy born 1916; and Lauren born 1923.
Another thing I couldn’t find any evidence for is the school of design in Santa Rosa.
PROBABLY SUMMER 1932
On Sunday afternoons and holidays, Theodosia opened her studio at 213 Third Street to all comers. 300 items were on show, including portraits and the group which had won Theodosia an international medal. On the front porch were 14 figures “done in white on Venetian red asbestos”, clearly visible to passers-by.
Source: newspaper snippet, though without a date; sent in an email by Ted Harwood September 2020. Ted wasn’t able to send the newspaper’s name but I think it must be one of the Santa Rosa newspapers. The report connected the opening of the studio with the new art school, supposing that Theodosia was showing her art work to prospective students.
Comment by Sally Davis: I think the group mentioned as having won a medal is the four works Theodosia had shown at the Pacific-Panama International Exposition(PPIE), in San Francisco in 1915. It suggests that she hadn’t been able to sell them; though she may not have intended to sell them, of course, but to keep them for occasions like this open-studio event.
1932; OCTOBER 1932
Theodosia gave two talks to the Theta Chapter of the Delphian Society, which met at the Annamay Tearoom in Santa Rosa. The second talk was on French artists from the 2nd Empire to the Present Day.
Comment by Sally Davis: the two talks had had to be separated by several months to allow Theodosia to work on some paintings she wanted to have ready for an exhibition in Santa Cruz. The Delphian Society was a national women’s organisation, founded in Chicago around 1910 with the intention of publishing a course of serious reading for women. Local groups were called ‘chapters’ and the choice of ‘delphian’ was very popular as a name for them, linking the women in those groups to the series of women who were the oracle at ancient Delphi.
Seen at www.newspapers.com, two issues of the Santa Rosa Republican: Tues 18 October 1932 p8 and Fri 21 October 1932 p6.
Wikipedia on the Delphian Society.
Looking online I found several mentions of the Annamay Tearoom in Santa Rosa, which was in business between 1923 and 1935. As well as teas, it was open for lunches, dinners and evening parties. A typical mention from 1929 seen at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection: Santa Rosa Press Democrat issue of 7 July 1929 p2. And via www.newspapers.com to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat 17 February 1935 p11: the announcement that it would be closing down after 12 years in business.
Theodosia showed three paintings at an exhibition in Santa Cruz.
Source: via www.newspapers.com to the Santa Rosa Republican issue of Tues 18 October 1932 p8, which described the paintings in question as “canvases”; so I think they weren’t murals.
Comment by Sally Davis: although my knowledge of Theodosia’s working life as an artist is so sketchy, I haven’t come across any evidence that she had exhibited in Santa Cruz before. The report in the SR Republican didn’t give any more details, either of the paintings or the show they were in. However, looking online I found that the Santa Cruz Art League had organised a Statewide Exhibition in 1928. It became an annual event and in April 2019 SCAL held its 89th such exhibition. The SCAL had been founded to promote art featuring the landscapes of California. If the three works Theodosia submitted were landscapes, they are the only landscapes by her I’ve found any reference to.
Source for the likely exhibition: scal.org, the website of the Santa Cruz Art League.
Theodosia gave a talk in Santa Rosa to the poetry class taught by Genevieve Mott. In it, she spoke about people she had known many years before: Yeats; Maud Gonne; Florence Farr; George Bernard Shaw; J M Synge; and John Masefield.
Seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection; [Santa Rosa] Oak Leaf volume 8 number 11 issued 8 December 1933 p1.
Wikipedia on Maud Gonne (1866-1953); J M Synge (1871-1909) and John Masefield. There’s also plenty on the web about Yeats’ tortured (at least on his side) relationship with Maud Gonne, whom he met in 1889.
Comment by Sally Davis: this is the only reference I’ve come across in all the coverage of Theodosia’s talks on her time in Europe in the 1890s and 1900s that actually names anyone she knew then. I imagine she did talk about at Yeats, at least, in other public lectures, but this report is intriguing because it also names people hardly any of its readers will have heard of: Florence “Phar”; Maud Gonne; and possibly J M Synge though the members of a poetry class would probably have read his plays. Yeats and Florence Farr were GD long-term GD members, and Shaw was a friend of Florence; so I’ve written about them in the file on the Durands in the GD. I’ve also mentioned Edith Maud Gonne there, though her GD membership lasted only a few weeks.
Though both Maud Gonne and John Millington Synge were friends of Yeats, Theodosia and her husband could have met them without his intervention. They both lived mostly in Paris during the 1890s and Maud Gonne continued to do so until after 1916. Maud Gonne had grown up in France and been educated at a French school. Synge went to Paris in 1893 to study at the Sorbonne, and was based there until 1903.
It’s Theodosia’s having known Masefield I can’t understand: looking at his wikipedia page, I can’t see when the two could have met. He was never in the GD and again according to his wikipedia page, was working and bumming around in the United States for much of the time that Theodosia was in England. Though in 1902 Masefield was put in charge of the fine arts section of the Arts and Industrial Exhibition, which was held in Wolverhampton; perhaps Theodosia had some art works in that exhibition and delivered them personally.
As well as getting Florence Farr’s surname wrong, the report printed another error – one it may have been fed by Theodosia: it said her husband was “a French sculptor”. He might have been a sculptor – my jury is out on that, for lack of information. He wasn’t French. The report also said that in her talk, Theodosia described the circumstances in which she and her husband had met W B Yeats; and I wonder how near Theodosia got to breaking the vows of secrecy she had sworn at her GD initiation: did she mention that she and her husband, Yeats and Farr were all members of a secret society that studied magic and other occult lore?
The report said that Theodosia had an art studio in Santa Rosa. That puzzled me: the reporter seemed to be thinking his or her readers might not know that. Perhaps Theodosia was actually living somewhere else.
Sources: wikipedia pages on Gonne, Masefield, Synge and Yeats.
Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Colin Smythe 1975.
Theodosia’s brother Virgil Moore died in Kansas City.
Comment by Sally Davis: Theodosia was now the only surviving child of Armstrong Porter Moore and Anna Elizabeth Mastin Moore. She probably didn’t go to Virgil’s funeral. She may have been in Paris (see below) or on her way there.
At //wc.rootsweb.com the Ancestry of Bob and Mary Beth Wheeler.
At www.findagrave.com information on Virgil Moore who’s buried at Elmwood Cemetery Kansas City.
Theodosia returned to Paris. This time she made only a short visit, returning to the United States with a French woman friend. On her return she began to write for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat again, a series of columns called World Fairs and Affairs, which ran until 1936.
Theodosia visited the Chicago Century of Progress International Exposition, with a French woman she identified only as “My friend the Duchesse de X”.
Sources for both those entries:
Sent in an email by Ted Harwood September 2020, Santa Rosa Press Democrat issue of 18 December 1934 p9: Theodosia’s column entitled World Fairs and Affairs. Theodosia and the Duchess had travelled to Chicago from Paris together, and the Duchess paid all Theodosia’s expenses. Perhaps she had hired Theodosia as an expert guide to the Exposition, as the two women spent most of their time looking at the art that was on show. There’s nothing in the report from which I could identify the Duchess; though Theodosia did mention that a son of the Duchess had died in the war – I take it she means the first World War.
Wikipedia on the Chicago Century of Progress International Exposition; originally intended to run from 27 May to 1 November 1933 but extended into 1934. Amongst the performers at the Exposition were the fan dancer Sally Rand; Judy Garland; and the Andrews Sisters.
Theodosia’s World Fairs and Affairs column focused on the California Pacific International Exposition, held in San Diego. She joined the Arts Guild of San Diego and by February 1936 she was living in San Diego.
Comment by Sally Davis: in her Letter(s) to the Layman series of newspaper columns Theodosia was writing as a Paris-based correspondent and focusing on European art and culture. The World Fairs and Affairs columns were a tacit acknowledgement of how the centre point of the art world was moving from Europe to the United States: the focus was on the Exposition and on American art styles, ancient and modern. Theodosia wrote enthusiastically about the decision to use adobe for so many of the Exposition’s new buildings. She mentioned going to México herself to study modern craftsmen and women, and praised modern Mexican art, though she did not like the ancient art of the Toltecs. She was less enthusiastic about the way the Exposition was being organised; and its promotion of events connected with the Exposition as new and organised specially, when so many of them were held regularly. And she was rather amused at the afternoon tea she attended, given by Mrs Frank Perkins, whom Theodosia described as the leader of the British ex-pat community in San Diego.
Via Familysearch to the US Census data for 1 April 1940. Everyone was asked where they had been living on 1 April 1935; and Theodosia replied that she’d been living in Sonoma County.
Wikipedia on San Diego’s Balboa Park, where the California Pacific International Exposition was held in 1935-36. The park has its own website at www.balboapark.org with good pictures. The San Diego Museum of Art and other cultural buildings associated with the Exposition are in the park. The Exposition was held to boost the local economy during the Depression.
Sources: the colums World Fairs and Affairs, which appeared in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on 9 January 1936 p8; 23 February 1936 p9; 28 March 1936 p3; and 7 November 1936 p5 by which time it was the Press Democrat and Santa Rosa Republican. Theodosia almost certainly wrote other columns with that name; but these were typed out for me and sent to me by Ted Harwood in September 2020.
At history.sdvag.net a history of the Arts Guild of San Diego. Theodosia is on a list of members in 1939.
FEBRUARY to OCTOBER 1939
With other members of the Arts Guild of San Diego, Theodosia showed art works at the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition.
Comments on the Exposition by Sally Davis: the Exposition ran from 18 February to 29 October 1939; and from 25 April to 29 September 1940. Plans for an Exposition to celebrate the two new bridges, and showcase industry and arts from around the Pacific Rim, had been in progress as early as 1933. An artificial island was constructed to take the 160-hectare (400 acres) site. In 1940 only, Art in Action allowed the public to watch artists at work, including the great muralist Diego Rivera, whose Pan American Unity was so big it wasn’t finished until a couple of months after the Exposition closed.
Wikipedia on the San Francisco Golden Gate Exposition, and there are lots of photographs on the web of the various buildings and events – see www.gettyimages.co.uk and www.expomuseum.com for one of the whole island site, taken from the air. The Art in Action part of the Exposition has its own wikipedia page and some of the 68 artists involved in the project are named. A few who weren’t involved in Art in Action but did show work at the Exposition are also listed. Theodosia isn’t in either list.
A good account of the Arts Guild of San Diego can be read at history.sdvag.net. Chapter 3 covers what are considered its golden years - 1929-39. In 1937 it became an artist-based committee of the San Diego Fine Arts Society. In November 1939 it celebrated its silver jubilee; at that time it had 224 members. A number of members of the Guild had shown work at the San Francisco Golden Gate Exposition of 1939 (but apparently not 1940); their names were listed and included Theodosia.
1 APRIL 1940
On the day of the 1940 US census, Theodosia was amongst 38 guests staying at the Admiral Hotel in San Diego, managed by Mrs May Sinclair.
Sources: via Familysearch to NARA Census Data 1940. Just noting here that Theodosia knocked seven years off her age, saying she was 70 not 76; but she had been doing that for decades!
The hotel wasn’t named on the census data page that I could see but I did find two sources giving its address - 410 A San Diego - and naming May Sinclair as manager.
Via google to the San Diego City and County Directory issued 1936 p616; and at www.sandiego.gov there’s the 1942 issue of the San Diego City Directory.
Comment by Sally Davis: I suppose that once the California Pacific International Exposition was over, there was no particular reason for Theodosia to stay in San Diego; so she was just visiting on census day.
Theodosia showed her painting The Picnic at the Southern California Art Show, held at the Fine Arts Gallery in San Diego. It was runner-up in the popular vote to decide the winner of the Leisser-Farnham prize.
Comment on the prize by Sally Davis: it had been founded in 1929 by Martin B Leisser, in memory of his friend the artist Ammi Merchant Farnham who had lived in San Diego from 1888 or 89 until his death in 1922. The prize was $100, awarded to the painting in the Southern California Art Show which got the most votes in a poll of the Show’s visitors.
At sandiegohistory.org, the web pages of the San Diego History Center, an article by Bruce Kamerling: The Start of Professionalism. Published originally in the Journal of San Diego History volume 30 number 4 Fall 1984; published by the San Diego History Society. The article covers the career of the first professional artists to live in San Diego, beginning in the late 19th century.
Arts Magazine volume 15 issues 1-6 1940, p17. The Picnic was actually joint runner-up with a work by Clarence Hinkle. The winner was Diana Seated, by Los Angeles-based artist Onestus Uzzell.
The Picnic is the last work Theodosia exhibited, as far as I can tell. If she had given her true age to the official taking details for the US Census, Theodosia would have told him or her that she was 76 in April 1940. She may already have been suffering from the chronic bronchitis which is listed as the cause of death on her death certificate. An adult lifetime of smoking, perhaps? Or was it working putting paint on sheets of asbestos? Or just living for so many years in the fog of San Francisco? - that’s probably the reason why she was not living in the city when she died. She moved once more, back to the San Francisco Bay Area, but to 242 Alma Street Modesto; where she died on 15 March 1949.
Source for death and address: via Familysearch to the California Death Index 1940-97.
Source for the cause of death: bill for funeral expenses, paid by Theodosia’s niece Virginia; copy sent by Ted Harwood in an email September 2020.
FINALLY an item from a newspaper; sent by Ted Harwood September 2020, which I haven’t been able to give even an approximate date to:
Newspaper report headed “Pastels in Cement” which reviewed some works by Theodosia that were on show at the time at the Duncan Vail Gallery. The review praised her skill in draughtmanship and her good knowledge of anatomy; and said that her portrait studies in pastel had an “unusual luminosity”. Two works were singled out. One was a portrait of “a negress” (which apparently was not the work’s title), which the reviewer found “quite modern”. The other was the portrait of a young girl, with the title Young Autumn.
Comment by Sally Davis: I just couldn’t pin the date of this exhibition down; such a shame as it was one of the biggest sets of work Theodosia ever showed in one gallery. I did see online a lot of passing references to the Duncan, Vail Co, which was in business by 1848 and is still an important artists’ materials supplier in the United States in 2020. And there were references online to the firm operating an art gallery from the 1920s to the 1980s; though I couldn’t work out where it was situated and of course there may have been more than one.
American Art Annual volume 17 1848 p429 Who’s Who Among Art Dealers section lists Duncan, Vail Co of 732 South Hill Street.
At www.worthpoint.com I found a picture for sale with a label on it from Duncan Vail Co artist materials, of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beverly Hills; though the label wasn’t dated.
On Ebay I saw several other items with the firm’s label on, with dates 1927, 1931 and 1934.
At ericmerrell.wordpress.com had the reference to the gallery operating in the 1920s.
Copyright SALLY DAVIS
7 December 2020
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