Edgar Alwin Payne (1883-1947). Born in Washburn, Missouri, on March 1, 1883, Edgar Payne left home at age 14 and found work painting houses, stage sets, and signs. His travels took him through the Ozarks and into Mexico. Except for a brief period at the Art Institute of Chicago, he remained a self-taught artist.
On Edgar Payne’s first visit to California in 1909, he spent several months painting in Laguna Beach before visiting San Francisco. While in San Francisco, he met artist Elsie Palmer whom he married in Chicago in 1912. In 1917 Edgar Payne returned to Glendale, California with a commission from Chicago’s Congress Hotel for a mural of 11,000 square yards of muslin which was accomplished with the help of other local artists and installed shortly after that.
In 1918, the Payne’s established a home and studio in Laguna Beach, where he organized and became the first president of the local art association. Edgar Payne continued painting and exhibiting in Los Angeles and Laguna until 1922, when he and Elsie began a two-year painting tour of Europe. During the next eight years, their winter residence was mainly in and around New York City. They traveled from coast to coast in the U.S. until 1932, when they returned to Hollywood and the following year separated.
Edgar Payne is internationally famous for his canvases depicting Indians riding through desert canyons and landscapes of the Sierra Nevada. He produced a color motion picture called “Sierra Journey” and Payne Lake in the High Sierra is named for him.
Edgar Payne died in Hollywood, CA on April 8, 1947.
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