Robert William Wood

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Robert William Wood
Robert W. Wood
Born(1889-03-04)March 4, 1889
Sandgate, Kent, England
DiedMarch 14, 1979(1979-03-14) (aged 90)
Bishop, California, United States
Known for Landscape painting
Movement California Plein-Air Painting, American Impressionism

Robert William Wood (March 4, 1889 – March 14, 1979) was an American landscape painter. [1] He was born in England, emigrated to the United States and rose to prominence in the 1950s with the sales of millions of his color reproductions. [2] He was active in the art colonies of San Antonio, Texas in the 1930s, [3] Monterey, California in the 1940s and Laguna Beach in the 1950s. [4]

Monterey, California City in California, United States

Founded on June 3, 1770, Monterey was the capital of Alta California under both Spain and Mexico until 1850. Monterey hosted California's first theater, public building, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. Monterey was the only port of entry for taxable goods in California. In 1846, the U.S. flag was raised over the Customs House, and California became part of the United States after the Mexican–American War.

Laguna Beach, California City in California, United States

Laguna Beach is a seaside resort city located in southern Orange County, California, in the United States. It is known for a mild year-round climate, scenic coves, environmental preservation, and an artist community. The population in the 2010 census was 22,723. As per population estimate in July 2017 the total population of Laguna Beach city was 23,174.



Life and work

Robert William Wood was born in Sandgate, Kent, England, near the White Cliffs of Dover. After emigrating from England in 1910, he roamed the United States from Maine to California in search of landscape subjects. He eventually settled in Laguna Beach, California in 1940. [5]

Sandgate, Kent village in the Folkestone and Hythe Urban Area in the Shepway district of Kent, England

Sandgate is a village in the Folkestone and Hythe Urban Area in the Folkestone and Hythe district of Kent, England. In 2004, the village re-acquired civil parish status.

Kent County of England

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.

Robert Wood reproductions

Wood's work was widely published by a number of publishers, the most prolific being Donald Bonnist's Donald Art Company, which distributed more than one million copies of October Morn, Wood's most popular print, in less than two years. Wood was at the peak of his fame in the 1950s through 1970s when his scenes of the Catskill Mountains in New York, the California coast, the Grand Tetons, the Rocky Mountains, the Texas Hill Country and the Cascades were most popular. His popularity made him a household name in America. Millions of his reproductions were printed in large editions by a number of publishers. Titles like Autumn Bronze, Early Spring, Pine & Birch, Texas Spring, and The Old Mill are found in homes across North America. [6]

Catskill Mountains Large area in the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of New York

The Catskill Mountains, also known as the Catskills, are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains, located in southeastern New York. As a cultural and geographic region, the Catskills are generally defined as those areas close to or within the borders of the Catskill Park, a 700,000-acre (2,800 km2) forest preserve forever protected from many forms of development under New York state law.

Rocky Mountains mountain range in North America

The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 4,800 kilometers (3,000 mi) from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. Located within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are somewhat distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west.

Texas Hill Country region of Texas

The Texas Hill Country is a geographic region located in the Edwards Plateau at the crossroads of West Texas, Central Texas, and South Texas. Given its location, climate, terrain, and vegetation, the Hill Country can be considered the border between the American Southwest and Southeast.

Studio locations

He lived in rural Ohio; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; San Antonio, Texas; Monterey, California; Laguna Beach, California; Woodstock, New York; [7] San Diego, California; and Bishop, California. He was a popular exhibitor at the Laguna Art Festival and a Life Member of the Laguna Art Association. [8] He was represented by galleries in Laguna Beach, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Cleveland. [9]

Later life

Wood moved to the Owens Valley in Bishop, California in the early 1960s with his wife, the artist Caryl Wood. On a large parcel of land with its own trout pond, they built studios for each of them. While in Bishop, the Woods became friends with landscape painters Robert Clunie and Richard Coons. The Woods sold the property to move to San Diego, where they restored a Victorian home. [10] After a few years in San Diego, they returned to Bishop, where they purchased a smaller property.

Owens Valley

Owens Valley is the now-arid valley of the Owens River in eastern California in the United States, to the east of the Sierra Nevada and west of the White Mountains and Inyo Mountains on the west edge of the Great Basin. The mountain peaks on either side reach above 14,000 feet (4,300 m) in elevation, while the floor of the Owens Valley is about 4,000 feet (1,200 m), making the valley one of the deepest in the United States. The Sierra Nevada casts the valley in a rain shadow, which makes Owens Valley "the Land of Little Rain." The bed of Owens Lake, now a predominantly dry endorheic alkali flat, sits on the southern end of the valley.

Bishop, California City in California, United States

Bishop is a city in Inyo County, California, United States. Though Bishop is the only incorporated city and the largest populated place in Inyo County, the county seat is located in Independence. Bishop is located near the northern end of the Owens Valley, at an elevation of 4,150 feet (1,260 m). The town was named after Bishop Creek, flowing out of the Sierra Nevada; the creek was named after Samuel Addison Bishop, a settler in the Owens Valley. Located near numerous tourist attractions, Bishop is a major resort town; the town is a commercial and residential center, while many vacation destinations in the Sierra Nevada are located nearby.

Robert Clunie was a Scottish-American plein air painter, specializing in California landscape art with a particular focus on the rugged mountain scenery of the High Sierra.

Wood died in Bishop at the age of ninety, just a month before a large retrospective exhibition was mounted at the Morseburg Galleries in Los Angeles, by Howard Morseburg and the Newport Beach gallery owner Raymond Hagen. [11]


Wood was an extremely facile painter and his artistic production was substantial, in excess of 5,000 completed works. His work is sold at galleries specializing in historic American art and is sold frequently at auction, with his auction record in excess of $40,000. [12]

See also


  1. Although he was never naturalized as a citizen, his entire career was in the United States, hence his designation as an "American" artist.
  2. These figures came from the Donald Art Company and are referenced by Jeffrey Morseburg in his essays on Robert and other web sites.
  3. He was represented in a number of the early San Antonio Plein-Air exhibitions in the late 1920s.
  4. Records of Laguna Art Festival. See also articles in archival section of Robert Wood web site referenced below.
  5. "Rites Pending for Artist Robert Wood". Los Angeles Times. March 17, 1979. p. B1.
  6. Donald Art Company was a leading American art publisher from the 1950s through the 1980s. Its D.A.C.N.Y. legend is found on millions of Wood reproductions.
  7. Flume. The Last Mountain.
  8. Wood exhibited his work at most Laguna Art Festivals from the late 1940s through the early 1960s.
  9. Richard Challis and Larry Kronquist in Laguna Beach, Newman Galleries in Philadelphia, Palmer Galleries in Atlanta, Morseburg Galleries in Los Angeles are several of the galleries.
  10. Images of both these homes are reproduced on the official website.
  11. Gaston, Godfrey, Robert Wood Retrospective, Exhibition Catalog, Morseburg Galleries, Los Angeles, California, 1979
  12. Ask Art reference site lists hundreds of sales with a value of more than $40,000.


Further reading

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