Anna Althea Hills

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Anna Hills
Anna Althea Hills.jpg
Anna Althea Hills

(1882-01-28)January 28, 1882
DiedJune 13, 1930(1930-06-13) (aged 48)
Known forImpressionist landscapes
Founding of the Laguna Beach Art Museum

Anna Althea Hills (January 28, 1882 – June 13, 1930) was an American plein air painter who specialized in impressionist landscapes of the Southern California coast.[1]

Hills attended Olivet College, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. After her schooling, she worked for Arthur Wesley Dow. Hills traveled in Holland and England, attended the Academie Julian and studied with John Noble Barlow. After returning to the United States, Hills traveled to the west coast and she switched from interior figures to impressionist landscapes. Hills settled in Laguna Beach, California where she opened a studio and taught.[2]

Besides her painting, Hills was known for community activism. She was involved with the Presbyterian church and ran the Sunday school.[3] For six years, she was president of the Laguna Beach Art Association (founded in 1918). As president, it was Hills' strong advocacy that led to founding the Laguna Beach Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California in 1929.[4] In addition, Hills urged her friend, the respected artist and critic Jennie V. Cannon, to create at her summer home in Carmel-by-the-Sea a similar organization and art gallery, which was eventually founded in 1927 as the Carmel Art Association and adopted verbatim the Laguna Beach preamble: “To advance the knowledge of and interest in art; to create a spirit of co-operation and fellowship between painter and public.”[5] Two years earlier Hills had been honored with a reception in Carmel.[6]


  • Bronze medal, Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, 1915
  • Bronze medal, California State Fair, 1919
  • Landscape Prize, Laguna Beach Art Association, 1922 & 1923


  1. ^ Westphal, Ruth Lily; DeLapp, Terry (October 1982). Plein air painters of California, the southland. Derus Fine Art Books. pp. 144–148. ISBN 978-0-9610520-0-3.
  2. ^ Stern, Jean (2002). Master of Light: Plein-Air Painting in California 1890-1930. Irvine Museum. ISBN 9780971409248.
  3. ^ Trenton, Patricia (November 27, 1995). Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945. University of California Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-520-20203-0.
  4. ^ Bond, Ralph C. (April 1989). "Discovering California's Impressionists". Orange Coast Magazine. 15 (4): 192–193.
  5. ^ Edwards, Robert W. (2012). Jennie V. Cannon: The Untold History of the Carmel and Berkeley Art Colonies, Vol. 1. Oakland, Calif.: East Bay Heritage Project. pp. 159, 174, 208–211, 224–225, 480, 689. ISBN 9781467545679. An online facsimile of the entire text of Vol. 1 is posted on the Traditional Fine Arts Organization website (
  6. ^ The Oakland Tribune, 22 February 1925, p. 4-S.