John Gamble (1863-1957)

On November 25, 1863 in Morristown, New Jersey, John Marshall Gamble was born. When he was a teenager, his family moved to Auckland, New Zealand. At age 20, he traveled to San Francisco, where he began his art training at the San Francisco School of Design. In 1890, he pursued portrait and figure studies at the Academies Julian and Colarossi in Paris. For American artists, the former academies were favorable alternatives to the Ecole des Beaux Arts; since they were much less conservative than schools in America, he was able to work from a nude model for the first time. Gamble was trained by French artists Jean Paul Laurens (1838-1921) and Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902). They had a higher rate of admittance and were far less conservative than the art schools in America.

Gamble moved to San Francisco in 1893, where he opened a studio. He reached national popularity for paintings of wildflowers. Gamble was recognized for wildflower paintings of golden poppies, blue lupine, and rolling hills. Gamble stated that he thought of flowers as color patches while painting. His works were displayed at the San Francisco Art Association, the Philadelphia Art Club, and the American Watercolor Society, and he was a member of the Santa Barbara and San Francisco Art Associations. In 1906 his studio and paintings were destroyed by earthquake fires. After the fire he moved to Santa Barbara, before travelling to Paris and the Middle East in 1908. Following, he painted the Grand Canyon and local desert. In 1909 he won the Gold Medal Award at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle. After a 1925 earthquake, Gamble served as the Color Consultant for the Architectural Board of Review for twenty-five years, which included decorating the interior of the Arlington Theater. In 1929, he became a teacher of advanced landscape and sketching at the Santa Barbara School of the Arts. He died from a brief illness on April 7, 1957, at the age of 93.