Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel
Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel (1870-1954)
Marion Wachtel was born in Milwaukee, WI, on June 10, 1870, into an artistic family. Marion’s mother was an artist, and her great-grandfather a Royal Academician in London. Marion studied at the AIC under Vanderpoel and in NYC with William M. Chase. For several years she taught at the AIC and was popular in Milwaukee as a portrait painter. A commission from the Santa Fe Railway to paint scenes in their ticket offices brought her to California.
Marion arrived in San Francisco in 1903, and she became a pupil of William Keith. Learning of her proposed move to southern California, Keith suggested that she study with Elmer Wachtel. A romance blossomed, and they married in 1904. After Marion Wachtel’s marriage, the artist dropped the “u” in her surname and then spelled it “Kavanagh.” Regular exhibitions with both the California and New York Watercolor Societies made her works famous on both coasts.
Marion Wachtel’s early works are tighter and more meticulously detailed than those produced after 1920. After Elmer died in 1929, she was inactive for a few years but continued to live in their Arroyo Seco home in Pasadena. By the early 1930’s Marion was painting and exhibiting again. Mrs. Wachtel worked only with watercolor until after her husband’s death and then used both watercolor and oil. Marion died at their home in Pasadena on May 22, 1954.
Edan Hughes, “Artists in California 1786-1940”
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