Edwin Roscoe Shrader
(1878 – 1960)

Painter, illustrator, teacher. Born in Quincy, IL on December 14, 1878, E. Roscoe Shrader came to California with his family when he was a child and began his art studies with William Lees Judson at USC. In his youth Roscoe also played the cello. Shrader’s father was a professor and chair of the physics and chemistry department at USC. In 1902 Roscoe returned to Illinois where he enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago for two years, studying with John C. Johansen and Thomas Wood Stevens (1880-1942).

Moving back to Los Angeles in 1904, he applied and was accepted to Howard Pyle’s School of Illustration in Wilmington, Delaware; under Pyle’s guidance for two years (until the school closed in 1906), Shrader became an accomplished illustrator of books and magazines, with clients such as Harper’s, Century, and Scribner’s. Music continued to play a part in his life, which was how he eventually met his future wife, Elisabeth Condit, a soloist in the Wilmington Choral Society in which he participated. He was a member of the art colony in New Hope, PA for three years before settling in Los Angeles in 1917.

Soon after returning to California, Shrader joined the California Art Club and became a teacher at the Otis Art Institute. In 1923, he was named dean of the faculty, and upon retirement
in 1949, was honored as dean emeritus of Otis by County Supervisor John Anson Ford. In 1924 Shrader was elected President of the California Art Club, a position that he would hold three times. He received a silver medal for The Wreck in the CAC’s 17th Annual Exhibit (1926), and was awarded the Mrs. Keith Spalding Prize for best western landscape twice: for Pageant of a Mountain Camp in the CAC’s 18th Annual (1927) and for Grape Pickers of La Cañada in their 20th Annual (1929). Shrader played a large role in helping oil heiress Aline Barnsdall decide to gift her famous Hollyhock House to the California Art Club to use for fifteen years (1927-1942) rent free. Shrader would preside over the first Black American Art Exhibit in Los Angeles, held at the Hollyhock House (1929) as well as myriad other CAC activities.

As Dean of Otis, he supported education for returning G.I.s, fighting to keep them in schools. The CAC joined the G.I.s and the Otis Alumni at the protests – later resulting in the First Annual G.I. Art Exhibit (1946), a collaboration between the CAC and the Veterans Administration. He assisted the clubs when the L.A. County Museum voted to no longer host exhibitions for the local art clubs, though these protests proved fruitless.

His paintings and illustrations are mostly of people and family, their activities, landscapes in and around the areas he lived, and historical Indian subjects. The Shrader family lived on Highland Avenue in a home which was listed as one of the “Three Best Houses in Los Angeles” in the February 1920 issue of The House Beautiful; the family later lived in La Cañada, CA where Roscoe passed away on January 18, 1960.

Image courtesy of Laura Nelson

Edan Milton Hughes, Artists in California 1786 – 1940; California Art Club Bulletins [various]; Who’s Who in the California Art Club, Inc., Rosters and By-Laws, 1984, 75th Anniversary Edition; The Art and Life of Edwin Roscoe Shrader by Janet Blake and Phil Kovinick, published by George Stern Fine Arts, 2010

California Art Club (President, 1924 – April 1926 [8th], Jan. 1927 – April 1930 [10th], 1934 [14th])
Los Angeles Friends of Art
Pasadena Art Association
Wilmington (DE) Society of Fine Arts

CAC Exhibitions:
Spring Exhibition, 9th Annual (1918); Spring Exhibition, 10th Annual (1919); 11th Annual, Exhibition of Paintings by the California Art Club [San Diego] (1920); 12th Annual, Exhibition of Paintings by the California Art Club [San Diego] (1921); 13th Annual (1922); 2nd Annual CAC “Building Club Drive” [Exhibition of Pictures for the Building-Fund], 14th Annual (1923); 15th Annual (1924); 16th Annual (1925); 17th Annual [medal] (1926); CAC Exhibit Honoring Aline Barnsdall, Bullock’s Inaugural Exhibition, 18th Annual [medal] (1927); Selected Paintings of Conrad Buff, E. Roscoe Shrader and Stanton MacDonald Wright [CAC Gallery], 19th Annual (1928); 20th Annual (1929); 21st Annual (1930); 22nd Annual (1931); Spring Exhibition [Egan Art Gallery] (1933); Exhibition of the California Art Club [Ebell] (1937).