Edward Reep Biography

View Art by Edward Reep

Edward Reep (1918- 2013) Born: Brooklyn, NY; Studied: Art Center School (Los Angeles); Member: American Watercolor Society, California Water Color Society. Edward Reep grew up in Southern California. He became interested in watercolor painting while studying with Stanley Reckless and received further instruction from Barse Miller. During World War II, he became a combat artist for the United States Army and was sent to Italy. With the war going on all around him, Reep managed to paint depictions of what was happening. These watercolor and gouache works became property of the War Department at the Pentagon. Additional war-time works produced after 1945 are in various museums including the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.

As a result of his outstanding contributions to war art, Reep was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to help finance his pursuit of art. From 1947 to 1950, he painted, exhibited and taught art at the Art Center School. In the 1950s, he worked with one of his former teachers, Emil Bisttram, at the Bisttram School of Art. He also began a nineteen year job as an art instructor for the Chouinard Art Institute during this era.

Although he has never restricted himself to any one medium, Reep has often painted with watercolors throughout his career. His works from the late 1930s are classic California Style regional watercolors. By the 1950s, he was working in the more modern abstract style for which he received several important awards and some national exposure. Since that time, he has continued to develop his personal style of art. He was hired as chairman of the art department and honored as Artist in Residence at East Carolina University and has authored two books: The Content of Watercolor and A Combat Artist in World War II.

Biographical information:

Interview with Ed Reep, 1983.

Biography courtesy of California Watercolors 1850-1970,

©2002 Hillcrest Press, Inc.

California Watercolor

A video of Ed Reep's memorial service


The following information was provided by Mr. Reep's daughter Susan Reep.



Born 10 May 1918, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Resided in Southern California 1921-1970

Greenville, NC 1970-1985

Bakersfield, CA 1985-2013

Married Karen Patricia Stevens 8 December 1942

Children Susan Kay, Cristine Elyse, Janine J., Mitchell Jules

Volunteered as private, US Infantry, 11 July 1941

Honorable Discharge, Captain, C.E. 14 February 1946

Two battlefield promotions; Bronze Star Medal

Official WWII War Artist overseas correspondent Africa and Italy



Huntington Park High School, graduated 1936

Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, CA 1936-1941 incl.

(Certificate- five years – no degrees conferred at the time)



1947-50 - The Art Center College of Design, painting and drawing,

1950-51 - Bisttram School of Fine Arts, painting and drawing

1950-51 - Summers. Coronado School of Fine Arts, painting

1950-66 - Chouinard Art Institute, painting and drawing

1957-66 - Chouinard Art Institute, Chairman, painting department

1950-70 - California State University at Northridge, painting honors program for gifted high school students (summers only)

1966-69 - California Institute of the Arts, Chairman, Foundation Department

1970 - Southern Illinois University, visiting artist

1970-85 - East Carolina University, professor and artist-in-residence; acting department chair 1978. East Carolina University, Retired 1985 as Professor Emeritus



1933 - Owens-Illinois Glass Company, graphic artist

1937 - Columbia Broadcasting Company, graphic artist

1930s - Breeden Tools, catalog designer

1942 - Soldier’s Club, Monterey CA. Designed and executed two 8-foot square and one 8x24 ft. mural  

1943 - Psychological Warfare Branch U.S. Army, North Africa, graphic artist

1943-45 - War artist-correspondent/photographer, U.S. Army, North Africa and Italy

1945 - Designed and supervised production of nine-volume History of the Fifth Army

1945-46 - Guggenheim Fellowship for creative painting

1946 - Raymond Loewy, renderings for Matson Lines

1947 - Selznick International Pictures, sketch artist and illustrator

1948 - 20th Century Fox, set designer

1950s - Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborne Inc., designer

1953 - Brentwood Pools, swimming pool designer

1953 - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Studio, scenic artist

1953 - Henry Dreyfuss Inc., color styling and rendering for Columbine III, President Eisenhower’s plane

1953 - City of Los Angeles, Art Coordinator, Seven City Parks Exhibition

1956 - LIFE Magazine, world-wide assignment painting impressions of international airports, 10 full-color pages reproduced in magazine

1957 - LIFE Magazine, court artist, Confidential trial

1957-58 - National Watercolor Society President; Member of board for four years

1958 - LIFE Magazine, court artist, Lana Turner-Cheryl Crane murder trial

1968 - Victor Gruen Associates, color styling and renderings for Cabrillo Marina

1968-74 - Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishing Company, consultant editor

1969 - Motorcross Speedway, design and architecture

1970 - U.S. Army, special commission to West Germany to paint impressions of 10th anniversary of Berlin Wall

1970 - Gateco Corporation, Irvine Industrial Park CA, design and execute 20’x40’ exterior mural

1975 - Yale University Press, book review for Josef Albers’ The Interaction of Color

1986-93 - Bakersfield Museum of Art, Board of Directors

Throughout above years executed painting commissions for Ford Times and Continental Magazines.  Several of the Ford Times watercolors now reside in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.



Reep, Edward. The Content of Watercolor. New York. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. 1969. Hardcover.

Reep, Edward. The Content of Watercolor. Revised Edition. New York. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. 1983. Paperback.

Reep, Edward. A Combat Artist in World War Two. Kentucky. The University Press of Kentucky. 1987. Hardcover.



Anderson, Susan M. and Henning, Robert Jr. (curators). Regionalism: The California View. Watercolors 1929-1945. Santa Barbara Museum of Art. University of Washington Press. 1988, p.80

Chenoweth, Col. H. Avery, USMCR (Ret.), Art of War: Eyewitness U.S. Combat Art from the Revolution through the Twentieth Century. New York. Michael Friedman, Inc. 2003, pp. 11, 26, 137-141, 148,  

Dustin, Nancy and Moure, Wall. California Art: 450 Years of Painting and Other Media. Los Angeles.

Goldsmith, Lawrence G. Watercolor Bold & Free. New York. Watson-Guptill. 1980, pp. 22, 29, 46.

Henkes, Robert. Themes in American Painting: A Reference Work to Common Styles and Genres.  North

Henkes, Robert. World War II in American Art. North Carolina. McFarland & Company, Inc. 2001, pp. 50-51, 63-64, 70-73, 82-83, 109, 111-113, 116-117, 121-123, 130, 132, 135, 141-144, 146, C-7.

Jones, James. WWII. New York.  Ballantine Books. 1975, p. 126.

Kent, Norman (edited). Seascapes and Landscapes in Watercolor.  New York. Watson-Guptill. 1956, pp. 115-120.

Lanker, Brian and Newnham, Nicole.  They Drew Fire: Combat Artists of World War II.  New York.  TV Books LLC.  2000, pp. 8-19, 179.

Last, Jay T. and McClelland, Gordon T. The California Style: California Watercolor Artists 1925-1955. Beverly Hills.  Hillcrest. 1985, pp. 164-165.

Last, Jay T. and McClelland, Gordon T. California Watercolors 1850-1970: An Illustrated History and Biography. Beverly Hills. Hillcrest. 2002. Pp. 50, 54, 55, 64, 68, 71, 79, 147, 184, 185, 203.

Livengood, Roy. Thunder in the Apennines: The Story of the 361st Infantry in Italy. U.S. 361st Infantry

Livesay, Nancy and Perine, Robert (curators). The California Romantics: Harbingers of Watercolorism

Lovoos, Janice and Mugnaini, Joseph. DRAWING: A Search for Form. New York. Reinhold Publishing

Mugnaini, Joseph. Expressive Drawing: A Schematic Approach. Massachusetts. Davis, Inc. 1988, pp. 53, 66, 170.

Mugnaini, Joseph. Oil Painting: Techniques and Materials. New York. Van Nostrand Reinhold. 1969, pp. 112-114.

Nichols, Tom and Schlemm, Betty Lou (selected). The Best of Watercolor. Massachusetts. Rockport. 1995, p. 20.

Piersol, Edna. Living by Your Brush Alone. Ohio. North Light Publishers. 1983. Pp. 104-107.

Pitz, Henry C.  How to Use the Figure in Painting and Illustration. New York. Watson-Guptill. 1965, p. 6.

Porter, Albert W. Expressive Watercolor Techniques. Massachusetts. Davis, Inc. 1982, pp. 67, 78.

Porter, Albert W. The Art of Sketching. Massachusetts. Davis, Inc. 1977, pp. 42, 126-127.

Schaad, Bentley. The Realm of Contemporary Still Life Painting. New York. Reinhold. 1962, pp. 25, 67, 70.

Schink, Christopher. Color and Light for the Watercolor Painter: How to get the Effects You Want Every New York. Watson-Guptill. 1995, pp. 137, 143.

Schneider, Frederick (designer). Creative Inspirations: A Collection of Drawing and Painting Ideas for

Artists. Massachusetts. Rockport, Inc. 1997, p. 13.

Sullivan, Gen. Gordon R. (Editor), Portrait of an Army. Washington D.C. U.S. Government Printing Office. 

Sullivan, Gen. Gordon R. (Editor). Soldiers Serving the Nation. Washington D.C. U.S. Government Printing

Truscott, Lt. Gen. L.K., Forward. 19 Days from the Apennines to the Alps. Italy. Pizzi and Pizio. 1945.

Zellers, Larry. In Enemy Hands: A Prisoner in North Korea. Kentucky. The University Press of Kentucky. 1991, Cover.



The Content of Watercolor, dir. Robert Rasch, featuring Edward Reep, 1976. Film.

They Drew Fire, dir. Brian Lanker. PBS. 2000. DVD.



“Added Attraction.” Newsweek. 16 October 1944. 82. Print.

“Artists At War.” M The Civilized Man. March 1985. 84. Print.

Hanson, Christopher. “Drawing Flak.” Archives of American Art. 2008, pp. 62-63. Print. Online.

“Footnotes.” American Artist. September 1954. 8. Print.

“LIFE’s Art Competition for Men in the Armed Forces.” LIFE. 6 July 1942, pp. 30-36. Print.

Livengood, Roy. “A Combat Artist in World War Two.” The Powder River Journal. Dec. 1987. Pp. 31-35.

Livengood, Roy. “Thunder in the Apennines Update.” The Powder River Journal. Dec. 1982, p. 16. Print.

Marsh, Melissa Amateis. “Armed with a Paintbrush.” America in WWII.  August 2012, pp. 14-23. Print.

Miller, Arthur. “Art of our City.” Los Angeles. December 1962, p. 57. Print.

The New East: The Family Magazine of North Carolina. Summer 1976. Cover, p. 2. Print.

“New Gateways to the Wide World, Painted and Drawn for LIFE by Edward Reep.” LIFE. 18 June 1956. 86-95. Print.

Nutting, Myron. “Art.” Script. June 1947. 44. Print.

Pitz, Henry C. “Pen Drawings by Painters.” American Artist. March 1947. 26-29. Print.

Powder River Journal. June 1984. p. 29. Print.

Rebel.  East Carolina University. March 1975. Cover. Print.

“Reviews.” Art Forum. 1964. 16-17. Print.

Reep, Edward. “The Past Reflected in the Present.” Watercolor: An American Artist Publication. Summer

Milady of California. August 1947. 59. Print.

“U.S. Around the World.” Fortune. July 1944. 121-131. Print.

“U.S. Government War Art.” LIFE. 6 April 1942. 58-60. Print.

“The Watercolor Series.” American Artist.  April 1952. 50-51. Print.

Weigel, John. “What I Look for in a Painting for the Ford Times.” Famous Artists Magazine. Spring 1963. 10-11. Print.

Wheeler, J.M. “In the California Style.” Panache Magazine. Nov. 1989. 30-31. Print.



1946-47 - Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Painting

1974 - nominated American Academy of Arts and Letters Art Awards

1975 - Grant National Endowment Fund, North Carolina Foundation of the Arts

1980 - Invited Phi Kappa Phi Honor Symposium Award for 4,000 word paper “Quality in Higher Education” to National Art Symposium University of Illinois, Urbana.

1997 - Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award Gold Medal, Watercolor USA Honor Society (to date only such award conferred)

Lifetime Achievement Award National Watercolor Society, painting added to Permanent Collection

Who’s Who in America (41st Edition)

Who’s Who in the World (6th Edition)

Who’s Who in American Art

Who’s Who in the West

Who’s Who in the Southeast

Outstanding Educators of America

Dictionary of International Biography

Notable Americans

Contemporary Authors, The Book Tower

Personalities of the South, American Biographical Institute



1941 - Purchase Prize, WPA National Competition

1942 - OEM National Competition

1942 - Fourth Prize, LIFE Magazine National All-Service Competition

1942 - First Prize, Carmel Art Association Service Competition

1946 - First Prize, American Contemporary Gallery Competition

1947 - First Prize, (Lawson Award) San Diego Museum 32nd Annual

1948 - First Purchase Prize (lithography), California State Fair Art Exhibition

1948 - Honorable Mention (lithography), California State Fair Art Exhibition

1949 - Honorable Mention (oil), California State Fair Art Exhibition

1949 - Second Prize, Coronado International Art Exhibition

1950 - First Purchase Prize, Carlsbad-Oceanside Competition

1951 - First Purchase Prize (oil), 18th Annual International Flower Show Art Competition

1951 - First Purchase Prize (oil), Los Angeles County Museum

1951 - First Purchase Prize (watercolor), Los Angeles County Museum Annual

1952 - First Purchase Prize, Gardena 25th Annual

1954 - Honorable Mention, Oakland Museum Annual

1955 - Honorable Mention, Newport Annuals

1955 - Award, National Watercolor Society

1955 - Award, South Bay Art Association Invitational

1955 - First Purchase Award, Sierra Madre Invitational

1957 - Honorable Mention, Newport Annual

1960 - Prize, All-California Invitational

1961 - Honorable Mention, Frye Museum, Seattle

1963 - First Prize (oil), Los Angeles All-City Annual

1964 - Purchase Award (drawing), San Marino Drawing Invitational

1981 - Purchase Award, East Carolina University National Exhibition



Three Whitney Annuals

National Academy of Design

Corcoran Biennial

National Gallery of Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art



1944 - Cecina, Italy,  paintings and drawings

1946 - Hollywood CA, American Contemporary Gallery, paintings and drawings

1950 - Los Angeles CA, Bisttram School of Fine Arts, watercolors                

1950 - Coronado CA, Coronado School of Fine Arts, paintings and lithographs

1951 - San Diego CA, San Diego Fine Arts Museum, oils, watercolors, lithographs, and drawings

1951 - Fresno CA, Fresno State College, watercolors

1954 - Pasadena CA, Pasadena Museum of Art, watercolors

1955 - Whittier CA, Whittier Art Association, watercolors

1957 - Santa Maria CA, Santa Maria Jr. College

1958 - Los Angeles CA, Chouinard Art Institute, paintings and drawings

1958 - Los Angesles CA, Simone Gallery, watercolors, watercolors on cloth, oils

1958 - Santa Monica CA, Santa Monica Municipal Art Gallery, oils, watercolors, watercolors on cloth

1960 - Los Angeles CA, Paul Rivas Gallery, oils

1962 - Los Angeles CA, Paul Rivas Gallery, oils

1964 - Los Angeles CA, Paul Rivas Gallery, oils

1965 - Long Beach CA, Long Beach Museum 10 Year Retrospective

1973 - Raleigh, NC, Garden Gallery

1975 - Charlotte NC, Mint Museum

1976 - Greenville NC, Greenville Art Center, 5 Year Retrospective

1978 - Roanoke VA, Yeatts Gallery

1980 - Greenville NC, Gray Galleries East Carolina University, 73 paintings

1982 - Birmingham AL, Side-Show Gallery

1985 - Greenville NC, East Carolina University, 60 Images 1980-85

1987 - Bakersfield CA, Cunningham Art Gallery

1989 - Bakersfield CA, Clark Galleries

1972-74 - Twenty images on tour of galleries and museums in America

2001 - Bakersfield CA, Jill Thayer Galleries at the Fox, watercolors



1948 - Los Angeles Art Association Four-person show

1950 - University of Southern California Five-person show

1951 - Los Angeles County Museum Four-person show

1957 - Sierra Madre Museum Five-person show

1968 - Downey Museum Four-person show

1970 - East Carolina University Two-person show

1971 - Louisburg College NC Two-person show

1980 - Somerhill Galleries, Chapel Hill NC Four-person show



Pennsylvania Academy, San Francisco Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Baltimore Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco World’s Fair International Exposition, Pennsylvania State Museum, University of California Los Angeles, University of Syracuse Museum, Library of Congress, Decatur Museum, Allen Memorial Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Cornell University, College of William and Mary, Springfield Museum of Art (Watercolor USA), University of No. Arizona, Parkland College IL (State of the Art in Watercolor), MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York.



National Watercolor Society – five years

California State Fair Art Exhibit

Los Angeles County Art Exhibition

Watercolor USA, MO

Pittsburg Watercolor Open Exhibition

Indiana State Fair Art Exhibit

South Carolina Watercolor Open Exhibition

Oklahoma National Watercolor Exhibition

Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition, etc.



Watercolor USA Honor Society (Lifetime Achievement Award)

National Watercolor Society (Life member, past president)

American Watercolor Society

American Association of University Professors

Honorary Life Member of California Parent Teachers Association



National Museum of American Art (National Gallery/Smithsonian Institution), six works

Los Angeles County Museum

State of California

United States Military History Archives/Museum, 66 paintings and drawings

University of California at Los Angeles

Grunwald Graphic Arts

Cole of California

Bart Lytton, Los Angeles

Buck Collection, Irvine, CA

LIFE Magazine War Art

City of Oxnard, CA

City of Carlsbad-Oceanside, CA

Gardena, CA High School

Artists Group of America, New York

Craven Institute, North Carolina

Greenville Art Museum, North Carolina

Louisburg College, North Carolina

North Carolina National Bank (10 works)

Consolidated University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Music Corporation of America

Blue Cross of North Carolina

State of North Carolina

East Carolina University School of Medicine

East Carolina University

Branch Banking and Trust, North Carolina

Numerous private collections such as Julian sieroty, George Schrieber, Mitzi Hughes, John Eyres, George Fenneman, Herbert Wylie, and others.



1951 - Los Angeles County Museum of Art

1952 - Pacific Arts Association, University of California at Los Angeles

1954 - Fine Arts Conference, Idyllwild

1957 - National Art Educators Association National Conference

1969 - Southern Illinois University

1978 - The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

1978 - National Association of Needlework Retailers, Chicago

1988 - California State University, Bakersfield

1992 - Mississippi State University

1992 - East Carolina University

1994 - Sun Cities Museum of Art, AZ

View THE CONTENT OF WATERCOLOR video by Edward Reep.