Leland Curtis

Leland Curtis

1897-1989
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Leland Curtis spent his childhood in Seattle, Washington before moving to Los Angeles in 1914. He attended Manual Arts High School where he studied with portrait painter and illustrator Rob Wagner. After serving in World War I, Curtis began what would be a successful career as an illustrator. An avid mountain climber, Curtis was a member of the Sierra Club and, in 1935, a founding member of its Ski Mountaineers Section. He illustrated many of the club’s publications. In addition to painting in the High Sierra, Curtis had a log cabin studio in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming and painted in Utah’s Monument Valley.
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Curtis served as the official artist for the United States Antarctic Service Expedition in 1939 to 1940, which was led by Rear Admiral Richard Byrd. Fifteen years later, in 1955, he went again on the expedition called Operation Deep Freeze, this too led by Byrd. He made one final trip in 1957, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. During this trip—Operation Deep Freeze III—the expedition reached the South Pole.

Fogbound Shores, Antarctica
Oil on canvas, 1939-40
20 x 24 inches
Gift of Joseph L. Moure
1991.201