Best known as a California landscape painter, Juan Buckingham Wandesforde was born into an English aristocratic family and studied under noted English watercolorists John Varley (1778–1842) and John Le Capelain (1914–1848). Wandesforde started his career as a portrait painter and teacher. In 1850, he immigrated to the United States and settled in New York City, where he was a founding member of the Century Club and exhibited at the National Academy of Design.
An avid traveler, Wandesforde toured throughout the United States and Canada, eventually settling in San Francisco in 1862, where he became an important member of San Francisco’s burgeoning artistic community. While continuing to paint commissioned portraits—like two other British émigrés in San Francisco, Thomas Hill (1829–1908) and William Keith (1838–1911)—he began producing landscapes, painting in the Sierra Nevada, at Mt. Diablo, and at Mt. Shasta. Like Norton Bush (1834–1894), he also painted “tropicals,” works much sought after by San Francisco collectors. In the 1870s, he was a founding member of San Francisco’s Bohemian Club and the San Francisco Art Association. Today, examples of his work are rare; a fire in the 1890s at his Hayward home destroyed most of his work. Nevertheless, Wandesforde’s position as an important nineteenth-century California painter remains.
Works in Our Collection
Untitled, or Mountain Lake
Oil on canvas, c. 1860
12 x 20 inches
Promised gift of Nancy Dustin Wall Moure