Although William Hubacek is known to have painted landscapes, he is best known today for his still-life paintings of fruit and floral arrangements. As a young child, Hubacek traveled across the country from Chicago to San Francisco. He began painting at the age of twelve and studied at the California School of Design with Raymond Dabb Yelland (1848–1900), Arthur Mathews (1860–1945), and Amédée Joullin (1862–1917). He opened a studio in the Mission District where the renowned still-life painter Samuel Marsden Brooke (1816–1892) s also had a studio. It is likely that Hubacek was influenced by Brookes and was aware of the work of Soren Emil Carlsen (1848–1932), director of the San Francisco School of Design from 1887 to 1891, had made a detailed study of the still-life works of the preeminent eighteenth-century still-life painter, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1699–1779).
Hubacek also traveled to Europe for further studies in France, Germany, and Italy. After his return to San Francisco, he taught at the California School of Design. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed his studio and much of his work, and it destroyed the Mark Hopkins mansion, which housed the school. The school was rebuilt the following year and opened under a new name, the San Francisco Institute of Art. In 1938, Hubacek moved to San Bruno, where he continued to paint and teach. Art students during that time referred to him as “The Old Master.”
Works in Our Collection
Still Life with Game
Oil on canvas, c. 1890
19 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches
Gift of the Carl S. Dentzel Estate