George Gardner Symons

George Gardner Symons

1862-1948
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George Gardner Symons was one of the earliest American artists to visit California, coming here in 1894 accompanied by his friend, artist William Wendt. The two met when both were living and working in Chicago, Symons as a commercial artist. A Chicago native, Symons had studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and in London, Paris, and Munich.
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Symons and Wendt came to California again in 1897, spending several months painting at Rancho Topanga Malibu Simi Sequit. The following year they traveled to England, spending time at the artists’ colony in St. Ives, Cornwall. Symons would make several trips to Cornwall throughout his career. However, the lure of California was strong, and in 1903, he purchased lots in Arch Beach where he built a studio-home. He would thereafter divide his time between Laguna Beach and the East, where he had a studio in New York City. In 1909, he won the Carnegie Prize at the National Academy of Design. He also received a commission from the Santa Fe Railroad in 1914 to paint scenes of the Grand Canyon to be used in their advertising.
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A classic American impressionist, Symons worked exclusively as a landscape and seascape artist. In Laguna Beach, he painted the rocky shorelines and coves. In the East, he painted the countryside, often in winter when the hillsides were covered in snow. Symons proved a master at depicting snow with scintillating blues and pinks overlaying the white pigment.

From the Hilltops
Oil on canvas, c. 1925
25 1/4 x 30 1/4 inches
Gift of Zara Symons Betts
1930.008