Delmer J. Yoakum

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Delmer J. Yoakum (December 6, 1915 - October 25, 1996) was an American fine artist, oil and watercolor painter, designer, serigrapher, Disneyland and Hollywood motion picture studio scenic artist.

Early life[edit]

Del Yoakum was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. Throughout his childhood, he was surrounded by artists. His mother was a painter. After dismissing his hope of studying music, painting became his passion. As a boy in the late 1930s, he received a scholarship for four consecutive years to study each summer with Thomas Hart Benton at Kansas City Art Institute. After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, he came to Los Angeles and studied with Henry Lee McFee, Phil Dike, and Rico Lebrun; and at Chouinard Art Institute, Jepson Art Institute, and the University of Southern California's Roski School of Fine Arts.

Professional life[edit]

Del Yoakum (left) working with another artist to paint the dioramic Grand Canyon scene and Primeval World at Disneyland, 1955

Yoakum's occupation was that of a Painter - Designer - Motion Picture Artist in Hollywood, California from 1952-1972. Over 21 years, he worked for Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and MGM; and did special assignments for Walt Disney Studios. All this time he also did his own fine art painting in his own studio. Among his many accomplishments during his long career, he painted the Grand Canyon and Primeval World Diorama scenery (viewable from the train of Disneyland Railroad), portions of Pirates of the Caribbean, It's a Small World and the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in California.

He also painted scenery for movies such as The Shoes of the Fisherman for which he recreated the panel about the life of Moses, and parts of the Last Judgment by Michelangelo, for the interior of the Sistine Chapel (MGM Studios). He created the city of Jerusalem for The Robe (which won the 1953 Academy Award for Best Art Direction–Set Decoration, Color), after which he created a fantastic 600 foot cyclorama that backed the safari camp set of The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Other films he created dioramic scenes for included Billy Wilder's Some Like it Hot (nominated for the 1959 Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White Academy Award), The King and I, Niagara, Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (the Mount Rushmore scene) and many others. During his term at 20th Century Fox, he also worked on many of the Marilyn Monroe pictures, and even one of the Elvis movies.

Yoakum's work has been exhibited in over 50 galleries, associations, museums, festivals, schools, colleges, fairs and art shows. He also contributed paintings to a number of invitational group shows including two in Mexico. He received over 30 awards and his paintings also received national recognition in art publications, including a number of art books and several art magazines over the years.

Personal life[edit]

Del was married to his wife Barbara Yoakum for over 50 years. He had three children; Robert, Bob and Cathleen. He lived in Sedona, Arizona for more than 25 years. He was a lifelong Democrat and a committed Christian, who even painted Christ's Crucifixion (which hangs in England's Coventry Cathedral) and Resurrection (which is in the permanent collection of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Sedona).

Publications[edit]

  • Who's Who in American Art
  • Who's Who in the West
  • American Artist Magazine
  • Newport Magazine Cover
  • The Illustrator (Magazine)
  • Dictionary of International Biography
  • Art News Magazine
  • International Directory (Cambridge, England)
  • "Landscapes" (Book), Davis Publications, Inc., 1977
  • Arizona Highways (Magazine), 1981
  • Road Runner (Book Cover), 1985 [1]
  • American Artists (Book), 1985
  • The California Style (Book), 1985
  • Sedona Heritage: Arizona Artists (Book), 1997
  • Kudos (Magazine), 2006

Memberships[edit]

  • National Watercolor Society (Past President 1961 and Honorary Life Member)
  • Inglewood Art League (Honorary Life Member)
  • Artist Equity Board Member (1951 through 1955)
  • National Society of Literature and the Arts
  • Sedona Art Center, Sedona, Arizona

Awards[edit]

Del (left) with his painting "Sunset Express" at an art show in the city of Avalon where he won "Best of Show" in 1967
  • National GI Exhibit, - Grand Prize - 1948 - Santa Monica, CA
  • Adahl Hyde Morrison Silver Medal 2nd Award -Oakland, CA
  • Frye Museum - Edouvard Manet Award - 1958 - Seattle, WA
  • Santa Monica Arts, Ass'n - 1st Prize - 1948 & 1949 - Santa Monica, CA
  • Hawthorne Methodist Church - Grand Award - Hawthorne, CA
  • Deluca Award, Las Vegas, NV
  • Inglewood Art League - 1st Award - Inglewood, CA
  • California State Fair - Honorable Mention Award
  • Riverside Art Ass'n - 3rd Award - 1966 - Riverside, CA
  • Downey Museum of Art - Honorable Mention Award - 1969
  • City of Avalon Best of Show - 1967 - Avalon, CA (see image at right)
  • John Marin Memorial Award - Watercolor USA - 1971
  • St. Raymonds - 1st Prize - 1971 - Thousand Oaks, CA
  • Hawthorne Art Festival - 2nd Award - 1971 - Hawthorne, CA
  • Arches Paper Award - National Watercolor Society - 1971
  • Inglewood Art League - 1st Award - 1970 - Inglewood, CA
  • Hawthorne Art Festival - 1st Award - 1970 - Hawthorne, CA
  • San Bernardino Art Ass'n - 2nd Award - San Bernardino, CA
  • Catalina Art Ass'n - Honorable Mention Award - 1967
  • Catalina Art Ass'n - 3rd Award - 1968
  • California State Fair - Honorable Mention Award - 1966 - Sacramento, CA
  • Frye Museum - Honorable Mention Award - 1963 - Seattle, WA
  • Inglewood Art League - Best of Show - 1969
  • Arizona State Fair - Honorable Mention Award - 1973
  • Arizona State Fair - Cash Award - 1974
  • Arizona State Fair - Public Appeal Award - 1980
  • Arizona State Fair - 1st Place Cash Award - 1984
  • Arizona State Fair - Honorable Mention Award (WC) - 1986
  • Coconino County Fair - 1st Prize - 1973 and 1974
  • Laguna Beach Museum of Art Award - National Watercolor Society - 1975
  • Jerome Art Center - 1st Prize WC - 1985
  • Best of Show - WC - 1985 - Winslow, AZ
  • 1st Place - Oil - 1985 - Winslow, AZ
  • 1st Place - WC - 1985 - Winslow, AZ
  • Honorable Mention Award - Oil - Winslow, AZ

(WC = Water Color)

Permanent collections[edit]

  • Butler Institute of American Art, Oil
  • San Diego Art Museum, Watercolor
  • National Watercolor Society, purchase, Motion Picture Art Director
  • Newport High School
  • Las Vegas art Association, Nevada Power and Electric
  • Glendale Federal Savings and Loan, Glendale, Ca
  • Brussels, Belgium, Page J. Thibodeaux
  • Washburn School
  • Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, England, Oil
  • St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Sedona, AZ, Oil
  • Sedona High School
  • Sedona Chamber of Commerce
  • Many Private Collections

Exhibited[edit]

  • Los Angeles Museum 1947-1950, 1952, 1954–1955, 1957 and 1958
  • Denver Museum 1953, 1954, and 1960
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 1957, 1969, and 1970
  • The Butler Institute of American Art 1953, 1955, 1957–1959, 1964, 1967–1971, 1975–1978, 1980–1985
  • Oakland Art Museum 1949, 1950, 1952, 1957, 1966, and 1967
  • San Diego Art Museum 1954
  • Watercolor USA 1966, 1968–1973, and 1975
  • University of Washington 1954
  • Hawthorne Art Festival 1967-1969, and 1971
  • National Watercolor Society 1954, 1956–1976, 1980, 1982–1985
  • DeYoung Museum 1962
  • Los Angeles Art Association 1946, 1949, 1951, and 1953
  • Frye Museum 1958, 1959, 1961–1965
  • Newport High School 1953-1957, 1959–1961
  • American Artist Galleries 1949
  • National Orange Show 1947, 1949, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1964, 1966, and 1967
  • Arizona State Fair 1948, 1973–1977, 1980–1986
  • John Ringling Museum 1959 and 1960
  • Long Beach Museum 1959, 1960, and 1962
  • San Francisco Art Association 1959
  • Dulin Gallery of Art 1964
  • Virginia Museum 1958 and 1962
  • Las Vegas Art Association 1959, 1963, 1965, and 1968
  • Pasadena Museum 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959, and 1961
  • Palos Verdes Art Gallery 1958 and 1969
  • Henry Gallery 1954
  • Richmond Art Gallery 1958-1969, and 1963
  • Pacific Art Festival 1949
  • California Palace Legion of Honor 1955-1957, 1959, and 1961
  • Wichita Kansas Centennial 1970
  • St. Raymonds, Thousand Oaks, California 1970
  • Tucson Art Museum 1964
  • Los Angeles Miracle Mile 1965, 1966–1968
  • Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery 1946-1948, and 1950
  • California State Fair 1951, 1955–1958, 1962, 1966, 1968, and 1970
  • Inglewood Art League 1961-1969
  • Riverside Art Association 1966 and 1971
  • Riverside National Date Festival Exhibit 1966
  • Santa Monica Art Association 1949 and 1958
  • Downey Museum of Art 1969
  • Los Angeles City Art Festival 1965-1971
  • Catalina Art Association 1966-1971
  • Cerritos College 1967
  • La Mirada Art Association 1967 and 1968
  • Laguna Beach Art Show 1969
  • Los Angeles Home Show 1967 and 1978
  • Mainstreams (Marietta, Ohio) 1968
  • Glendale Fine Arts Center (Glendale AZ) 1984 and 1985
  • Sedona Arts Center (Sedona AZ) 1981 and 1986
  • Winslow, AZ 1985 and 1986
  • Jerome Art Center (Jerome AZ) 1986
  • Santa Paula 1958, 1961–1963, 1967, 1968, and 1970
  • Grand Canyon Diarama, Disneyland 1958–present

Quotations[edit]

Regarding Del Yoakum:

(Les Krantz, American Artists)

(Isabel McCord Stroud, Sedona Heritage: Arizona Artists)

(Lucas O. Seastrom, Welcome to the Disneyland Railroad Grand Canyon Diorama Tribute!!)

External links[edit]