William Wendt


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Painter. Among the best-known Southern California artists of his day, he celebrated the state's scenic grandeur in lush landscapes infused with the spirituality he ascribed to nature. Born in Bentzen, Germany, he moved to Chicago in 1880. There he briefly attended classes but remained mostly self-taught as an artist. In the mid-1890s he began visiting California. In 1898 he sojourned at the artists' colony of St. Ives in Cornwall, England. He again visited Europe in 1903 and on subsequent occasions until 1927. From 1906 until 1912 he lived in Los Angeles, but then permanently relocated to the coastal suburb of Laguna Beach. Around this time, his impressionist approach gave way to a broader method that accommodated interests in light and color while providing stability and order through graphic patterning related to the California decorative style. Suggesting nature's majesty and the solace it offers, his work reflected Wendt's desire to reveal divine immanence in the landscape. His wife, sculptor Julia Bracken Wendt (1871–1942), known for portraits and allegorical subjects, was born in Apple River, Illinois, and spent most of her childhood about twenty miles from there, in Galena. She began her studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1887. In 1893 in addition to executing her own commissions, she assisted her mentor Lorado Taft in creating sculptural decoration for Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition. She maintained her own studio in Chicago before marrying in 1906 and moving with her husband to California. There she numbered among the Los Angeles area's leading sculptors. She died in Laguna Beach.

Subjects: Art.

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