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Sam Hyde Harris
1889 - 1977
Harris Sam Hyde Photo .jpg Sam Hyde Harris Carlsbad Backwater
Carlsbad Backwater
Sam Hyde Harris Eucalyptus and Marsh
Eucalyptus and Marsh
Sam Hyde Harris Lakeside
Lakeside
Sam Hyde Harris Rabbit Brush
Rabbit Brush
Sam Hyde Harris Cathedral Canyon Sketch 1951
Cathedral Canyon, 1951 (oil sketch)
Sam Hyde Harris, Eucalyptus and Hillside,
Eucalyptus and Hillside
pencil on paper, black frame
with dark charcoal mat
Sam Hyde Harris with fellow artist Orpha Klinker having fun at a costume party.
Sam with fellow artist, Orpha Klinker,
having some fun at a costume party.

The San Gabriel Sun eulogized Sam Hyde Harris saying, "The past lives on in the eloquence of his paintings."

"His 6' 3" stature along with his magnetic, colorful personality and the beauty of his unique and easily notable style has gained him an honored place at the table of California artists. His vision of California's past is a refreshing break from the suburbanized blur of our present age."

Sam came to America from Middlesex, England along with his family, arriving in Los Angeles in 1904 at age 15. While working odd jobs in advertising art, he continued his art education, studying with a list of notables: Stanton McDonald-Wright, Frank Tolles Chamberlain, Laurance Murphy, Will Foster, and Hanson Puthuff. He was successful at commercial art, creating posters for clients like the Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and Sante Fe railroads which today are collector's items. He created the Van deKamp Bakeries logo of a windmill.

For half of 1913, he visited the great museums of Europe. When he returned home, he married Phoebe Mulholland, the niece of William Mulholland of the LA water district. During the depression, Sam turned to teaching art, including teaching at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.

In his personal life, he endured a divorce at age 55, then married Marion. The new couple purchased Jack Wilkinson Smith's old studio on Champion Place in Alhambra. This eucalyptus and pine lined lane with a great view of the San Gabriel Mountains has retained the nickname Artists' Alley. It came to be known as the "Little Bohemia," the "Greenwich Village," and the "Montmartre" of the Southwest. The alley attracted notable artists such as Frank Tenney Johnson, Jack Wilkinson Smith, Eli Harvey, Clyde Forsythe and Norman Rockwell. Rockwell came to paint in the summertime and just to enjoy the company.

The major portion of Sam's final painting period focused on desert landscapes, introduced to Sam by the famed desert painter James Swinnerton. Sam painted for himself. He drew a distinction between commercial art, done for a client, and art he did on his own. He greatly disliked the notion of creating art "to please the public." Yet his art drew critical praise, the admiration of his peers, and he won many awards.

Source: Distinguished Artist Series, Sam Hyde Harris 1889-1977, by Ruth Westphal, http://www.tfaoi.com/distingu/sh.htm

Sam painting at his easel in his home studio with his wife Marion looking on.
Sam at his easel in his home studio
with his wife Marion looking on
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