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OTIS OLDFIELD (1890-1969)

Born in Sacramento, CA on July 3, 1890. Oldfield left high school at age 16 to work in a local print shop. In 1909 he arrived in San Francisco and enrolled at the Best Art School. After working for two years as a bellhop at the Argonaut Hotel and as a hat check boy at the Cliff House, he had saved enough money for further studies in Paris. In 1911 he sailed for France and enrolled at Académie Julian. Caught up in the activities of wartime Paris, he was an apprentice for a book binder. In 1924 Oldfield returned to Sacramento and added a studio to the house in which he was born. Feeling out of touch with the art mainstream, he stayed in Sacramento briefly. By early 1925 he had rented a studio in San Francisco's old Montgomery Block and became an instructor at the CSFA (1925-42). His first solo show was held in that year at the local Beaux Arts Club where his controversial paintings were considered very bold and modern by local art critics. In 1934 he was one of 26 artists selected by the federal government to paint murals in the newly erected Coit Tower. The subject of his fresco is Shipping Activities Inside the Golden Gate. During WWII he was a draftsman at Fort Mason Marine Repair and then taught at the CCAC until 1952. After that time Oldfield continued painting and teaching at his home until his death in San Francisco on May 18, 1969.

Courtesy Edan Hughes.

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