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Millard Sheets
(California, 1907 - 1989)

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Millard Sheets earned a reputation as one of the foremost watercolorists of his era. Of all the Depression era artists, he was the most representative of the California School, part of the American Scene movement. In addition to having painting talents, he was a master architect, mural designer, and maker of tapestries and mosaics.

He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles with Clarence Hinkle and F. Tolles Chamberlin. After graduation in 1929, he taught watercolor classes at Chouinard and his use of this medium encouraged many others to follow suit including Phil Dike, Lee Blair, Hardie Gramatky, Barse Miller, Phil Paradise and Paul Sample. They had much camaraderie amongst themselves and joined the California Water Color Society, stirring state-wide interest and ultimately a national revival of interest in that medium. Water color with its quick drying, fast moving qualities seemed to reflect the mood of the country of going fast and being flexible.

Later, beginning in 1938, Sheets chaired both the art departments at Scripps College in Claremont and was director of the Claremont Graduate School. He remained there until 1954 to 1960 when he headed the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. After that time period, he had a studio for architectural design, mosaics and murals, and for the next twenty years executed over 100 buildings throughout the United States, mostly with mosaics and murals.

His national recognition began in 1930 when his work was selected for inclusion in the Carnegie Institute's International Exhibition of Paintings, the most important United States exhibition at that time. In World War II, he was an artist reporter in Burma and India, and he designed Luke Air Force base in Phoenix, Arizona. He was a member of the National Academy of Design. His paintings are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum in New York, the Chicago Art Institute, the National Gallery in Washington D.C.; the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco; and the Los Angeles County Museum.

 

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High in the Rockies

Late 19th and early 20th century American art with an emphasis on the 1930s since 1977
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