Francis McComas -
Born in Fingal, Tasmania, Francis
McComas became noted for his paintings, many in Tonalist style, of
California oaks, cypress trees, desert landscape and Indian subjects.
His specialty was watercolor. For twenty-six years he "was a key figure
in the development of California watercolor painting and was an
inspiration to younger artists who were considering pursuing watercolors
as their primary painting medium". (McClelland 159) However, he also did
many oil paintings and murals. He first received art education from
Sydney Technical College in Australia and then worked his way via Hawaii
and Samoa to California as a merchant seaman.
McComas moved to San Francisco in 1898, studied with Arthur Mathews at
the California School of Design, and then went to the Academie Julian in
Paris. Eventually he settled in Monterey, California but traveled with
a group of painters regularly to the Southwest where he painted pueblo
country landscapes, many of them with looming rock formations. During
1909-1910, he explored Hopi villages, Canyon de Chelly, and New Mexico
"Carmel Valley Oaks and
Along with Arthur Putnam and Mary Foote, he represented California at
the 1913 Armory Show in New York City, and in 1915, he won a bronze
medal for one of his ten entries at the Panama Pacific Exhibition.
There he was honored with a two-person show with his teacher Arthur
Mathews. It was said that he had social connections on the East Coast
and Europe, and these contacts were helpful in furthering his career,
especially in the 1920s when he was getting established.
"Indian Dwelling, 1920"
Watercolor, 7 1/2 x 9 inches
His watercolor Cliff Dweller series with warm monochromatic tones
became a trademark and was a departure towards modernism from the
tonalist style he learned from Mathews.
Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
Gordon McClelland and Jay Last, California Watercolors 1850-1970
(800) 833-9185 or email to
info@kargesfineart for further information
Los Angeles Gallery
2525 Michigan Ave., T-3
Santa Monica, CA 90404
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Whitney Ganz: Director
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Carmel, CA 93921
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Patrick Kraft: Director
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