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Edwin Deakin
(1838-1923)


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"The Old Mill Near Castle of Chillon"
c. 1910
Oil on canvas
18 x 12 inches











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Edwin Deakin was a painter born in Sheffield, England on May 21, 1838. At age 12 Deakin was apprenticed to a decorative japanning firm where he was taught to paint landscapes on boxes and tables. From then on he remained a self-taught artist. By age 18 he was recognized in France and his native England for his architectural paintings.

After moving to America in 1856, Deakin settled in Chicago and soon was exhibiting portraits of Civil War heroes at the Chicago Art Academy. In 1870 he moved to San Francisco, established a studio, and within a few years had gained a fine reputation as a painter while exhibiting regularly with the San Francisco Art Association and at the Mechanics' Institute Fairs. He was a member of the Bohemian Club and a close friend of Samuel Brookes with whom he shared a studio. Deakin traveled and sketched in Europe during 1877-79. While there, he produced many paintings of Switzerland and France and exhibited at the Paris Salon. During 1882-83 he occupied a studio in Denver, Colorado and then returned to San Francisco. Having developed an early enthusiasm for ruins and historic architecture, in later years Deakin turned to painting these sharply delineated scenes in a style that was termed "romantic, picturesque, and nostalgic." Most of his paintings are characterized by the skillful rendering of architectural surfaces. He is most famous for his series of mission paintings completed between 1870 and the turn of the century. His legacy to California also includes skillfully rendering paintings of grapes, Chinatown genre and scenes of the disaster of 1906.

His last years were spent in Berkeley, California where in 1890 he purchased a large tract of land which was a portion of the old Peralta land grant. He built a Mission-Style studio on the property and remained there until his death on May 11, 1923.

Exhibited: San Francisco Art Association, 1872-85; Mechanics' Institute, San Francisco, 1875-87; California State Fair, 1876-89; Alaska-Yukon Expo, Seattle, 1909; De Young Museum; Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (missions); Oakland Museum; California Historical Society; Society of California Pioneers; Nevada Museum, Reno; Orange County Museum, California.

Works Held: De Young Museum, Natural History Museum of LA (missions); Oakland Museum; CHS; Society of California Pioneers; Nevada Museum (Reno); Orange Co. (CA) Museum

Source:
Hughes, Edan M. Artists In California 1786-1940. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Sacramento: Crocker, Art Museum, 2002. N. pag. 2 vols. Print.