Blendon Reed Campbell (American 1872 – 1969)

Blendon Reed Campbell (American 1872 – 1969): The Hillside – Oil on panel, 9.5 x 13.25 inches/Signed lower left

Born in St Louis, Missouri, young Blendon Reed Campbell moved to San Francisco around 1893. In 1897 he traveled to Paris, France to study at the Académie Julien under Jean-Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant. In 1900, while still in Paris, Campbell exhibited three paintings at the American Art Association’s second annual exhibition in Paris, one receiving third prize. He will continue to exhibit at the Paris Salons until 1949. He also meets James Abbott McNeill Whistler with whom he undertakes some additional studies. He returned to San Francisco in 1900, where he began to paint the surroundings of San Francisco. In 1902 he and other artists founded the California Society of Artists, a group they believed would provide greater opportunities for young artists than that of today’s San Francisco Art Association. During his career, 19th century artist Blendon Reed Campbell would divide his time between the east coast and the west coast. A skilled illustrator and printer, Campbell illustrated covers for Scribner’s and McClure magazines in the early 1900s, as well as providing illustrations for Neil Boyce’s “Eternal Spring” (Mrs. Hutchins Hapgood) and Booth Tarkington’s “The Beautiful Lady”. . In 1908 he taught a class in “painting and decorative composition” at the National School of Art in New York. In 1910 he worked on the interior design of the Otsego Hotel, followed by a trip to Rockport, Massachusetts, where he spent the summer painting. In the 1910s, in addition to painting, Campbell illustrated several other books, including “Vanitas” by Vernon Lee; “A Christmas Mystery” by William J. Locke; and “Master of the Vineyard” by Myrtle Reed. During this time he met and befriended sculptor and art patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney when she set up a studio near his in MacDougal Alley. He was a founding member of the Whitney Studio Club (1918), the precursor to the Whitney Museum of American Art. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Campbell lived in New York. US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had established the Works Progress Administration (WPA), under which a subdivision, the Federal Art Project (FAP), was created to provide economic assistance to artists. Campbell was able to acquire commissions through this program, creating lithographs depicting scenes of American life at that time. Campbell moved to Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula in the early 1950s and died in Bradenton, Florida in 1969. Campbell was a member of the California Society of Artists; Society of Illustrators (1905); American Art Association of Paris; Architectural League of New York (1911). He exhibited at the Paris Salon (1899); American Art Association of Paris, 1900 (prize); Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1912-1936); Society of Independent Artists (1917); Whitney Museum of American Art (1918-1932); Salons of America (1934); Meridien Arts & Crafts (1949, 1952, award).

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