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George Demont Otis

Artist's Biography

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“Saint Raphael Church”

As a Chicago schoolboy, orphaned at age six, George Otis demonstrated a talent for drawing that earned him a scholarship at the Chicago Art Institute.  After further study at the Art Students League in New York City and with John Carlson at Woodstock, he set up his studio in Chicago while working during the summer as a professional baseball player.  Otis started painting the West in 1916, beginning in Colorado, but spending considerable time with Indian tribes in Arizona and New Mexico.  In 1919 he settled in Southern California, and was hired by MGM to paint movie sets.  In 1930 he gave up movie work and moved to northern California, eventually building a studio for himself in the quiet village of Kentfield north of San Francisco.  From this base, he painted many Bay Area scenes in a bright, fluid, "plein-air" style. Our painting depicts Saint Raphael Church in San Rafael not far from his Kentfield studio.  The artist has surrounded the church with trees and bushes that contrast the beauty of California flora with the building’s graceful, mission-style architecture. Harmonies of green and yellow-green dominate the palette, adding to the work’s aesthetic appeal. Otis’s style combines the energy and freedom of the twentieth century with the reverence for nature seen in nineteenth-century landscape painting.






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