Dana Bartlett (1882-1957)
Carnations and Gladiolus
oil on canvas
20 x 16″
I rarely buy still lifes anymore but this one was so gorgeous I had to. I have not had a Dana Bartlett in about twenty years and I admire his work. Bartlett went to Florence and learned a tempera underpainting technique in 1924. You can see evidence of the new technique in the luminous vase here. Stamped “not for sale” and titled on the stretcher. An obit and an early review of his 1927 Exposition painting exhibition taped to the back. This may have come from that solo show.
Dana Bartlett studied at the Art Students League in New York under William M. Chase and with Charles Warren Eaton. The first decade of his career was spent as a designer and commercial artist–first in Portland, Oregon for Foster and Kleiser and then in San Francisco. From the latter city he moved to Los Angeles in 1915 intending to become a landscape painter. His first exhibit in 1916 included oil paintings, watercolors and pastels as well as black and white monotypes, which he heightened with a slight tint of watercolor.
Antony Anderson, then art critic for the Los Angeles Times, found his nocturnal landscapes (for Bartlett was intrigued by the moods of nature) among his best works. Until 1930 Bartlett was a frequent exhibitor with the California Art Club and the Painters and Sculptors exhibitions. His decorative Southern California landscapes, complete with eucalyptus trees and purple mountains painted in pale pastels are almost the epitome of “Eucalyptus School” paintings.
In 1924 he traveled to Europe with the intention of making a special study of how Titian, Turner and Monticelli applied their color. Upon his return he experimented with the use of Venetian tempera as an underpainting. What resulted were a number of imaginative landscapes and still lifes painted in a high decorative fashion with brilliant, jewel-like transparent glowing colors, which are unique product in Southern California.
In 1920 and 1927, Bartlett organized circulating exhibitions of his own works and in 1928 he opened an art gallery for sketches and small paintings and also taught at the Chouinard School of Art. Although he is listed in the 1940-41 volume of Who’s Who in American Art, little record is left of his art activities after 1930 other than he was a member of the Laguna Beach Art Association until 1936.