This beguiling and beloved painter was an integral part of the California art scene. Here her feel for landscape meets her delight in human beings (and animals!) as she brings a village charmingly to life. Art, framed, measures 23″ x 26 1/2″.
A painter of the California and Southwestern desert, Orpha Klinker had a long list of accomplishments as a Los Angeles artist and was also a recognized portrait, historical and pioneer genre painter.
She was of German and English heritage and was born in Fairfield, Iowa, and then lived briefly on a 360 acre farm near New Sharon. Her father was a minister of the Christian Church, and through an exchange of ministries, he took his family to Chico in Northern California when she was a tiny child, and shortly after that to San Bernardino where her father founded three churches.
Growing up in that area, she loved the desert country and took an interest in the history and traditions of California. She had early art talent, which was encouraged by her mother. Orpha began her career cutting silhouettes for the May Company in Los Angeles when she was 12 years old and then went into furniture ad art with her work appearing in many newspaper advertisements.
She studied at the U.C.L.A. Art School and Cannon Art School and with Paul Lauritz and Anna Althea Hills, her first private teacher. She also became an art teacher, did silhouettes of movie stars, and created “Betty Bobbs” paper dolls. She attended the Julian and Colarossi Academies in Paris, went to New York and did illustration, and then to Philadelphia where she worked for the “Ladies Home Journal.”
Returning to the West, she pursued through her art her combined interests in the desert and history. Her family became a part of this history, owning the Klinker Building, regarded as the first skyscraper Los Angeles. She did a series of portraits and talks titled “Speaking of Pioneers,” and her research led her far afield into deserts of California, Utah, and Arizona where she painted the Grand Canyon. One of her portraits was of the last of the “49ers,” Emanuel Speegle. She also did a series of historical scenes on china plates, now collectors’ items and in 1939 designed the official seal of Los Angeles county. She did etchings of the desert, her chief source of inspiration.
She was a member of the California Art Club and the Women Painters of the West. Her studio was in her home atop the Hollywood Hills, and she worked for preservation causes including saving the stone home of Charles Lummis, noted writer and founder of the Southwest Museum.
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