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Hiram Reynolds Bloomer

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Wagon Road, Marin County

H.R. Bloomer moved to San Francisco as a child and grew up with the ambition to become an artist. In his early career, his landscapes showed the influence of Thomas Hill, depicting lofty mountain subjects like Lake Tahoe and Mount Shasta. In 1874, he held a successful auction sale of his own paintings and traveled to Paris, studying under Carolus Duran and other masters. He went on sketching trips to the village of Barbizon and was one of the party, along with Robert Louis Stevenson, that discovered the nearby hamlet of Grez. Legend has it that he introduced Stevenson to Fanny Osbourne, his future wife, who had come to France from San Francisco to study art. In any case, Bloomer was a lifelong friend of the Stevensons. After successful sojourns in Paris and London where his paintings were admitted to major exhibitions, Bloomer returned to San Francisco in 1893 and spent the remainder of his life as a California artist. He was a frequent exhibitor at Bohemian Club shows, often sending views of Mount Tamalpais and other Marin County locations. In 1899 he moved to Sausalito, perhaps to be near the marine painter, W.A. Coulter, with whom he shared a San Francisco studio. In February 1899, the San Francisco Chronicle noted "a portfolio of the most refreshing sketches, things caught here and there in Marin County." (February 19). He exhibited paintings with such titles as “High Road, Marin County” and “A Meandering Road” in exhibitions at that time.


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