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Edgar Alwin Payne never received much formal art training. However, he would become so skilled in painting and well known as an artist that he authored a book titled "Composition of Outdoor Painting". His book on the techniques of outdoor painting was so comprehensive that it is still used today by many art professors, artists and art collectors. Edgar Payne's paintings portrayed many different subjects including the mountains and lakes of the Sierras, Southern California coastal views, western scenes of Navajo Indians in the desert southwest, the Swiss Alps and boats in Brittany, France and Italy.

Edgar Alwin Payne was born in Missouri in 1883 to a family that lived and worked on a farm. Having determined by the age of fourteen that life on a farm was harder work than he desired, Edgar Payne left his family in search of other opportunities. The young artist found work painting signs, stage sets and even homes. His work was becoming so proficient that he even obtained jobs painting murals inside theatres and public buildings. Edgar Payne kept moving and worked his way through the Ozarks and all the way to Mexico.

Perhaps the only formal art training Edgar Payne every received was at the Art Institute of Chicago and also at the Payne Morris Studio in Dallas, Texas. In 1912, Edgar Payne married a fellow artist and the couple decided to move to California. Edgar & Elsie Payne liked Santa Barbara and made their home there by 1915. There in Santa Barbara, Edgar Payne started spending a lot of time easel painting. They only stayed in Santa Barbara for a few years and by 1918 Edgar & Elsie Payne moved to Laguna Beach, California.

Painting by Edgar Alwin Payne titled: Tuna Boats, Brittany.

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Like many artists, making a living painting was not always easy. Edgar Payne took jobs painting large murals in different parts of the country and this required Edgar & Elsie Payne to travel often. Painting the Sierra Nevada mountains would become a passion for Edgar Payne and he made frequent trips both there and to the desert southwest. It was the artists masterful renditions of these scenes that initially gained him notoriety.

A founding member of the Laguna Beach Artists Association, Edgar Payne also served as its first President. He continued painting as well and in 1922 Edgar & Elsie Payne went on a painting expedition in Europe that lasted almost two years. Upon their return, the couple opted to split their time between their California and New York homes.

Edgar Payne is best known for his paintings of the Sierra Nevada mountains and in fact Payne Lake in the High Sierras is named after him. As Edgar Payne progressed in his career his palette became lighter and his brushwork bolder and looser. To the trained eye, this is how one can tell whether a work was created early or late in the artist's career.

Edgar Payne developed cancer and died April 8, 1946.


Edgar Alwin Payne Gallery of Art - Visit the Edgar Alwin Payne Gallery of Art website.


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1917 Medal, California State Fair
1918 Medal, California State Fair
1918 Gold Medal, Sacramento State Fair, Sacramento, California
1919 Medal, Sacramento State Fair, Sacramento, California
1919 Award, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
1920 Award, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1921 Award, Southwest Museum of Art
1921 Award, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art
1922 Award, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art
1923 Award, Paris Salon
1925 Award, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
1926 Gold Medal, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
1929 Award, National Academy of Design
1939 Award, Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, California
1947 Award, California Art Club, Pasadena, California


Allied Art Association
American Artists Professional League
California Art Club (President, 1926), Pasadena, California
Carmel Art Association, Carmel, California
Chicago Society of Artists
International Society Art League
Laguna Beach Art Association (President, 1920), Laguna Beach, California
Palette and Chisel Club
Salmagundi Club (NYC)
Ten Painters of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California


Early Fine Art Dealers specializes in valuing and purchasing important paintings from the 17th century through the early 20th century. Our buyers are in constant search for fine works of art and paintings, spanning the globe for original well-known Old Master, European, American, and early California art. Each year we preview and participate in hundreds of private sales, art shows, gallery showings, exhibitions and auctions. We are in constant search for fine works to purchase. Please contact us today to discuss the sale of one of your paintings. Please note that our gallery only deals with original paintings. No Prints Please.

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