Warren Chase Merritt Biography
Warren Chase Merritt (1897 - 1968) Painter, muralist. Born in Randsburg, CA on Dec. 3, 1897. As a young boy Merritt sketched ships along the Eureka waterfront. He was fascinated by the sea and his childhood along the coast had a great influence on his future work. When he was about 14, his father, manager of the North Pacific Steamship Company, was drowned in the wreck of the Hanalei off Ducksbury Reef. Soon thereafter, the Merritt family moved to Sausalito and he enrolled at the CSFA for one term while working as a commercial artist. In 1929 the Crown Zellerbach Corporation commissioned him to paint his first mural, the history of paper making and shipping in the San Francisco Bay area. Throughout his life he painted a number of murals, one commissioned by the Shell Oil Company and another by Pacific Gas & Electric plus a number of historical wall panels for the Mamaroneck (NY) Library. Between 1935-42, Merritt's studio was in New York, but he divided his time between the East and West coasts. Returning to California, during WWII he worked in the engineering office at Bethlehem Steel in Alameda. After the war he and his wife moved to Capitola where he continued to paint a variety of subjects. Merritt worked for many years as an illustrator for Railroad Magazine and also did illustrations for California history books during the 1940s-50s. In addition to painting, he was an accomplished musician and often played with a group of friends at dances and functions held in Santa Cruz and the Capitola area. He died in Capitola, CA on May 23, 1968. Member: Carmel AA; American WC Society. Exh: Ferargil Galleries (NYC), 1938 (solo); NAD, 1938; SFMA, 1939; NY World's Fair, 1939; De Young Museum, 1943; CPLH, 1945. In: Santa Cruz City Museum. Art and Artists in Santa Cruz cat.; AAW; CSL; WWAA 1938-41.
Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Photo courtesy Brian Van De Mark