Margaret Bruton

Margaret Bruton was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 20, 1894. The Brutons settled in the San Francisco Bay area where she grew up. Margaret attended public schools in Alameda with her younger sisters, Helen and Esther, who would also become artists.

In 1913 she began studies at the San Francisco Institute of Art under Frank Van Sloun. Receiving a scholarship later allowed for four years of further study at the Art Student's League of New York under Frank Vincent DuMond and Robert Henri. Later, afetr her return to California and two years of work at a San Francisco hospital during World War I, she resumed her art career in Alameda. She then began studying with Armin Hansen in Monterey, California and in 1924 the entire Bruton family relocated there. The Bruton sisters traveled to Europe in 1925, visiting galleries in England, France and Italy, after which Margaret remained in Paris for study at Academie de la Grande Chaumiere.

Upon her return to the U.S., Margaret maintained her residency in Alameda for many years, with frequent visits to Monterey and sketching excursions elsewhere. Finally, in 1944, she and Helen moved permanently to Monterey.

Margaret's first western works were of Northern California landscapes. She displayed them, along with European studies, in her first solo exhibition at the Galerie Beaux-Arts, San Francisco in 1927. She traveled to Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1929, Virginia City, Nevada in 1933 to sketch the old ghost towns, and to Palm Springs, California in 1936-1937.

Essentially an oil painter, her portraits, figures, and genre won many prizes and medals from the early 1920s in Northern California shows. By 1938 Margaret turned to mosaics and other materials. In collaboration with Helen and Esther, her most notable achievements were "Peacemakers," a mural measuring 57 x 144 feet for the Court of Pacifica at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, and a series of twenty-two large mosaic and terrazzo maps of battle zones in the Pacific Theater, for the World War II cemetery in Manila, Philippines, which was dedicated in 1960.

Margaret was active in the art circles of San Francisco and Monterey until her death there on August 29, 1998.

Exhibited: San Francisco Art Association annuals; California Society of Etchers; Santa Cruz Art League, 1925 (1st prize); San Francisco Society of Women Artists; Galerie Beaux-Arts, San Francisco; California Pacific International Exposition, San Diego, 1935; Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1939. She also had a number of solo shows.

Works Held: California Historical Society; Standard Federal Savings, Los Angeles (mural).

Hughes, Edan M. Artists In California 1786-1940. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Sacramento: Crocker, Art Museum, 2002. N. pag. 2 vols. Print.
Kovinick, Phil and Marion. "Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West". Print.
Trenton, Patricia. "Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945". Print.
Maurine St. Gaudens. "Emerging from the Shadows: A Survey of Women Artists Working in California, 1860-1960" Vol. 1. 2015.