Elmer Wachtel

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Elmer Wachtel
Portrait of artist Elmer Wachtel by fellow artist Rob Wagner, Los Angeles, 1909.
Born(1864-01-21)January 21, 1864
Baltimore, Maryland, United States[1]
DiedAugust 31, 1929(1929-08-31) (aged 65)
Spouse(s)Marion Wachtel

Elmer Wachtel (1864-1929) was an American painter who lived and worked in Southern California.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] He was known for his impressionist landscapes.


Wachtel was born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 21, 1864.[5] He moved to California in 1882 to live with his brother, who was working in San Gabriel.[1][5] Wachtel worked as a ranch hand and as a furniture store clerk while saving money to attend art school.[1][7] He also worked as a violinist, playing for the Philharmonic Orchestra of Los Angeles.[3] Wachtel was largely self-taught as a painter.[8] He studied at the Art Students' League in New York for two months and then later at the Lambeth School of Art in London.[1] Wachtel married sculptor Marion Kavanagh in 1904; the two lived in the Arroyo Seco region of Los Angeles.[1] Wachtel was known for painting California's landscapes, rather than European landscapes.[1] On August 31, 1929, Wachtel died suddenly while on a painting trip in Guadalajara, Mexico.[1][3][9]

During World War I, Wachtel became an informant for the U.S. Department of Justice by reporting to federal law authorities alleged pro-German and antiwar statements by militant socialists and fellow artists.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Andersen, Timothy J.; Moore, Eudorah M.; Winter, Robert W.; (Firm), California Design; Pasadena, California Design; Center, Pasadena (1974-01-01). California design 1910: exhibition catalog Pasadena Center, October 15-December 1, 1974. California Design Publications. p. 48.
  2. ^ Stern, Jean; Clarke, Athalie Richardson Irvine; Smith, Joan Irvine (1994-01-01). Reflections of California: the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Memorial exhibition. Irvine Museum. p. 176. ISBN 9780963546821.
  3. ^ a b c Gerdts, William H. (1998-01-01). All Things Bright & Beautiful: California Impressionist Paintings from the Irvine Museum. The Museum. p. 189. ISBN 9780963546890.
  4. ^ Turner, Jane (2000-01-01). Encyclopedia of American Art Before 1914. Grove's Dictionaries. p. 594. ISBN 9780333760956.
  5. ^ a b c Masters of light: plein-air painting in California, 1890-1930. Irvine Museum. 2002-01-01. p. 186. ISBN 9780971409231.
  6. ^ Hughes, Edan Milton (2002-11-01). Artists in California, 1786-1940: L-Z. Crocker Art Museum. p. 1151.
  7. ^ a b Starr, Kevin (1986-12-04). Inventing the Dream: California through the Progressive Era. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199923267.
  8. ^ Dawdy, Doris Ostrander (1974-01-01). Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary. Sage Books. ISBN 9780804006071.
  9. ^ The American Southwest and Its Native People: From the Santa Fe Collection of Southwestern Art and the Palm Springs Desert Museum : December 5, 1986 Through February 1, 1987, Palm Springs Desert Museum. The Museum. 1986-01-01.
  10. ^ FBI files

Hollywood Bohemia: The Roots of Progressive Politics in Rob Wagner's Script by Rob Leicester Wagner (Janaway Publishing, 2016) (ISBN 978-1-59641-369-6)