Ransome Gillett Holdridge

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Ransome Gillet Holdredge
Born 1836
San Francisco, California
Died 15 April 1899
Alameda, California
Nationality American (United States)
Known for Painting
Notable work Napa Valley, Yosemite, Klamath Indians (1878), Indians Fishing the Klamath (c. 1875), Figures near a Stream on a Stormy Afternoon, Mount Hood, Oregon, Indian encampment in the Sierras
Indian Camp in the Cascades
Sioux Encampment in the Rocky Mountains
Idle Afternoon. After 1874
The Wine Festival. 1876

Ransome Gillet Holdredge (1836 - 1899) was an early San Francisco school painter, specializing in Northern California landscapes.


Holdredge was born in New York City (or possibly London, England[1]) in 1836, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1850s, where he became head draughtsman at Mare Island Naval Yard. In 1874, with the assistance of friends and patrons, he moved to Paris for two years where he studied painting and traveled around Europe. On his return, he gained a reputation as a leading landscape artist, traveling through the Western United States from Utah and the Rocky Mountains, to Oregon and the Sierra Mountains, to Yosemite and to the San Francisco Bay Area, often living with local Native American tribes.[2]

He may have been a founder of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco, and was an early member of that association. He helped organize the San Francisco Art Association and was friends with Charles Warren Stoddard and Robert Louis Stevenson. After achieving fame, he attained some wealth, which he subsequently squandered on drink. He died destitute, on or around April 15, 1899.[2][3][4]

There are claims that Holdredge served as a field artist for Scribner's or was present at Major Reno's actions at Custer's Last Stand, but these claims are disputed.[5][6][7]


Holdredge was recognized as a great painter during his life. His paintings are in the permanent collections of many museums, particularly those specializing in California artists. His works are (or have been) displayed in the Shumate Collection of the Oakland Museum of California,[8] the De Young Museum,[9] the Hart Collection at the Sonoma County Museum,[10] the Utah Museum of Fine Arts,[4] Sacramento's Crocker Museum, Society of California Pioneers, Bohemian Club, University of California Berkeley's Bancroft Library, Prescott, Arizona's Phippen Museum of Western Art,[11] The Colorado Heritage Center at the Colorado Historical Society in Denver, Colorado,[11] Reno's Sierra Nevada Museum,[2] Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, Hearst Art Gallery at Saint Mary's College of California, Jack S Blanton Museum of Art, Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, and Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY.[12]

Prior to his studies in Europe, Holdredge painted in the Hudson River School style of realism, and signed his works with the surname spelled Holdridge. In Europe, he developed a romantic style evocative of the Barbizon School, and began spelling his surname as Holdredge.[2]


  1. ^ Peggy Samuels; Harold Samuels (1976). The illustrated biographical encyclopedia of artists of the American West. Doubleday. ISBN 9780385017305. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Ransom Holdredge (1836–1899)". Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  3. ^ "The San Francisco Art Boom: 1860s–1880s". Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  4. ^ a b Olpin, Robert S.; Rugh, Thomas F & Horton, Ann W. Painters of the Wasatch Mountains. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  5. ^ "QUick Facts and Keywords for Ransome Holdredge". Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  6. ^ "Ransome Gillet Holdredge 1836–1899". Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  7. ^ "BIOGRAPHY for Ransome Holdredge". Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  8. ^ "A Legacy of Early California Paintings: The Shumate Collection". Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  9. ^ "Yosemite, by Ransom Gillet Holdredge". Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  10. ^ "Sculptor Uribe, left out of ceremony, explains SR memorial". 2008-07-27. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  11. ^ a b "Sioux Encampment in the Rocky Mountains". Christie's International Auction House. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  12. ^ "Museums References for Ransome Holdredge". Retrieved 2009-01-22. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Ransome Gillett Holdridge at Wikimedia Commons