Marion Wachtel Biography

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Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel (1876-1954) Landscape painter. Born in Milwaukee, WI on June 10, 1876 into an artistic family. Marion’s mother was an artist and her great grand-father a Royal Academician in London. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago under Vanderpoel and in New York City with William M. Chase. For several years she taught at the AIC and established a reputation in Milwaukee as a competent portrait painter. A commission from the Sante Fe Railroad Company to paint scenes in their ticket offices brought her to California. Arriving in San Francisco in 1903, she became a pupil of William Keith. Learning of her proposed move to Southern California, Keith suggested that she contact Elmer Wachtel. A romance blossomed and they married in 1904. After Elmer’s death in 1929, she was inactive for a few years but continued to live in their Arroyo Seco home; by the early 1930s she was painting and exhibiting again. Mrs. Wachtel worked exclusively with watercolors until after her husband’s death and then used both watercolor and oil. Regular exhibitions with both the New York and California Watercolor Societies made her paintings popular on both coasts. Her early works are tighter and more meticulously detailed than those produced after 1920. After her marriage, the artist dropped the "u" in her surname and spelled it "Kavanagh". She died at her home in Pasadena on May 22, 1954.

Member: California Watercolor Society; Academy of Western Painters, LA; Pasadena Society of Painters; Friday Morning Club, LA; New York Watercolor Club; Ten Painters of LA.

Exhibited: LACMA 1915, 1917; Stanford University, 1936.

Works held: Laguna Museum; California State Building, LA; Woman’s Club, Hollywood; Cedar Rapids Museum; Freemont High School, LA; Gardena (CA) High School; Friday Morning Club, LA.

American Art Annual 1909-1929; Who’s Who in American Art 1936-53; Fielding’s; The Woman Artist in the American West; Women Artists in America; Samuels; Ber; Laguna Beach Museum of Art, 1918-78 cat; California Design, 1910; Artists of the American West; Southern California Artists; Los Angeles Painters of the 1920s; Plein Air Painters; Women of the West, 1928.

California Watercolor