William Wendt

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Saddleback, Steven Stern Fine Arts

William Wendt (February 20, 1865, Bentzen, Kingdom of Prussia – December 29, 1946, Laguna Beach) was a German-born American landscape painter. He was called the "Dean of Southern California landscape painters."[1] Associated with the Eucalyptus School, his work is more closely aligned with the Arts and Crafts Movement in California than the French or American Impressionists.[2]

Being the only son of his parents William Wendt and Williamina Ludwig, he underwent an apprenticeship for cabinetmaking in his youth but was left unsatisfied by the experience. He later emigrated by himself to the United States in 1880. From 1894 to 1896, he traveled extensively with his friend, George Gardner Symons. He married the sculptor, Julia Bracken in 1906 and moved to California shortly thereafter.[1]

Wendt was a founding member of the California Art Club, along with his wife Julia, and served as its first president for six years.[1]

Wendt built his studio in Laguna Beach, California. A Laguna street, Wendt Terrace, bears his name.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Wendt's first painting experience was reportedly as a staff painter for a commercial art shop where he was responsible for applying a single pigment to a painting in a production line of many artists. Working six days per week, he used his one day off to go into the field, surrounded by nature and painting to satisfy his own creative talents. He was largely self-taught, having only attended two terms of evening classes at the Art Institute of Chicago.[4]


Selected paintings[edit]

Galleries and public collections[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Biography @ the William Wendt Gallery.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wendt, William; et al. (1989). In Praise of Nature: the Landscapes of William Wendt: November 14-December 17, 1989, University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach: an Exhibition /Organized by the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program; Edited by Constance W. Glenn and Sue Taylor-Winter. Long Beach, Calif: The Museum. p. 5.
  3. ^ Wendt Terrace @ Google Maps.
  4. ^ Moure, Nancy Dustin Wall (1977). William Wendt 1865-1946 (1 ed.). California: Laguna Beach Museum of Art. p. 9.
  5. ^ A Golden Anniversary for Chicago Art. Katharine Kuh. Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago Vol. 40, No. 4, Part I (Apr. – May, 1946), pp. 40–46; p. 41. Published by: The Art Institute of Chicago. [1]


  • Edan Milton Hughes, Artists in California, 1786–1940, self-published, 1989 ISBN 978-0-9616112-1-7
  • South, Will (November 28, 2008). "William Wendt: Plein Air Painter of California". Laguna Art Museum: In Nature's Temple: The Life and Art of William Wendt. Resource Library.
  • John Alan Walker, Documents on the Life & Art of William Wendt, self-published, 1992.
  • Ruth Lily Westphal, Plein Air Painters of California: The Southland, self-published, 1996 ISBN 978-0-9610520-0-3

External links[edit]

Archival collections[edit]