William Wendt
(1865 – 1946)

Landscape painter. Born in Bentzen, Germany on February 20, 1865. Wendt immigrated to Chicago in 1880 and studied briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago while working at a commercial art shop. A self-taught painter, he became a great technician through his power of observation. Wendt was a good friend of the artist George Gardner Symons in Chicago and made several trips to southern California with him between 1894 and 1906. After his marriage to sculptress Julia Bracken in 1906, the couple moved to Los Angeles and bought the studio-home of the Wachtels on Sichel Street. Wendt was a cofounder of the California Art Club and held the position of president for six years. In 1912 he was elected and Associate of the National Academy and in that year built a studio-home in Laguna Beach. Before 1915 his paintings were characterized by light, short strokes and after that time he used a much broader, bolder brush. Eugen Neuhaus wrote, “He sings of spring in its rich greens and more often of the joyful quality of summer in typical tawny browns, in decorative and broad terms.” Wendt is considered a giant among American artists and is often referred to as the “Dean of southern California.” He died in Laguna Beach on December 29, 1946 and was buried next to Julia at Holy Sepulcher Cemetary in Orange.

Image courtesy of AskART.com

Edan Milton Hughes, Artists in California 1786 – 1940

California Art Club (President, 1911-1914, 1917-1918)
American Federation of Arts
Laguna Beach Art Association
Society of Western Artists
National Arts Club
Chicago Society of Artists