Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts

About Artist Edith Hamlin (June 23, 1902 - February 18, 1992)

Artist Edith Hamlin

Photo credit: Edith Hamlin, by Ansel Adams. Copyright Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts.

Edith Anne Hamlin, a daughter of Charles Francis and Mary (Wallace) Hamlin, grew up in Oakland and, from 1914, in Santa Cruz, CA. Encouraged by her father, artist Edith Hamlin attended the California School of Fine Arts on a two-year scholarship (1922-1924). Afterward, she decided to embark on a career as an artist in San Francisco, but illness forced a delay until 1928 while she was living in San Diego. Three years followed in New York (1929-1932), where she studied at Columbia Teachers College, did freelance decorating, taught art, and exhibited her work.

During her New York residency, Edith Hamlin made a return trip to California in 1930. That journey, together with her initial trek east and the drive back to the Pacific Coast in 1932, which included a stop in Taos, NM, gave her new insights into western landscapes and influenced much of her subsequent work.

Back in California, Edith Hamlin established a studio in San Francisco in 1933 and married Albert Barrows, also an artist, in the next year. In 1936, divorced, she began a commission under the WPA project to do murals for San Francisco's Mission High School. During this project, she received advice from artist Maynard Dixon, who she married in 1937. Afterward, she served as his assistant on a number of commissions and, from 1939 until his death in 1946, lived at studios in Tucson, AZ and Mount Carmel, UT. Hamlin, who married Frank K. Dale in 1951, continued to live in Arizona and Utah until returning to San Francisco in 1953. She remained there in a hilltop home with a mural studio, where she continued to paint and to restore some of her and Dixon's earlier murals.

Over the years, Edith Hamlin traveled widely, finding subject matter for her paintings in California, Arizona, southern Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and Mexico. Titles reflecting this scope included (ital.) Casita of Tucson from Yaqui Village; Canyon of Flame and Storm; Red Canyon (Canyon de Chelly); The Great Gorge (Grand Canyon); Land of the Navajos; Mormon Country; Virgin River Country; Pyramids of Zion; and Taos Mountain. Like her husband and fellow artist Maynard Dixon, many of Hamlin's commissioned murals also utilized western themes. Among them were (ital.) Spaniards, the Overland Trail, and Days of the First Railroad. Tracy Post Office, CA (1938), and Grand Canyon and Taos for the Santa Fe Railway ticket office, Chicago (1947).

Artist Edith Hamlin's exhibitions included those of the SFAA; San Francisco Museum of Art; San Francisco Society of Women Artists; Salons of America, New York; M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco; Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; California- Pacific Edith Hamlin women painters of the westInternational Exposition, San Diego; and Dayton Art Institute, OH. She had one-person shows at the Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego (1926, 1929-1932); Art Center, New York (1931); Dallas Museum of Fine Arts (1934); Arden Studio, New York (1932, 1933); and Witte Memorial Museum, San Antonio (1934).

References: WWWAA; WWAA 1953-1962; Rubinstein, Am Women Artists; Hughes; Trenton, Kovinick; Calif Art Res 16; SF Chron, 23 May 1926, 8 Oct 1936, 8 Sep 1937; San Antonia Exp. 3 May 1936; Ariz Daily Star (Tucson), 30 Mar 1941, 1 Feb 1942, 30 Oct 1949, 15 Mar 1951; SF Exmnr, 13 Jan 1966, 19 Feb 1992; Stendahl Galleries papers, AAA, reel 2718; Calif St. Lib card (1954); US Cen 1910, Alameda Co, CA ED 145, pg 4; E Hamlin, 1975-1982; T McNeill, 1975.

Source: An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West Copyright 1998 by Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick

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