John Marshall Gamble Biography

John Marshall Gamble (1863-1957) was born in Morristown, New Jersey on November 25, 1863. He would become a well known early California Impressionist Plein-Air painter and is best known for his paintings of California poppies, lupine and other wild flowers against the greens and purples of the rolling California coastal hills.

His father worked for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company and the Gamble family moved to Auckland, New Zealand when John Gamble was a teenager. At the age of 20 he traveled to San Francisco and his art training began at the San Francisco School of Design under the painters Virgil William (1830-1886) and Emil Carlsen (1853-1932). To cover his living expenses, John Marshall Gamble worked as a court typist and cafeteria chef among other odd jobs.

In 1890, John Marshall Gamble left San Francisco in order to attend the Academies Julian and Colarossi in Paris. There he studied portrait and figure painting under the French artists Jean Paul Laurens (1838-1921) and Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902). It was during this training in Paris that the artist first experienced drawing a nude model.

American Impressionist painter John Marshall Gamble returned to San Francisco in 1893 and opened a studio as a professional artist. Painting there for over thirteen years, he gained recognition as an artist and derived a modest income as a painter of wildflowers. He regularly had paintings on display at the San Francisco Art Association as well as the Philadelphia Art Club and the American Watercolor Society in New York City.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a significant turning point in John Gamble's painting career. The devastation from the earthquake and fires killed thousands of people and destroyed over 500 city blocks. He was not injured, however his studio and all of its contents and paintings were destroyed. The only thing that survived was a few paintings that were out on loan to an art dealer.

John Marshall Gamble had been making painting and sketching trips to Southern California for some time. With his painting studio and inventory now destroyed, he decided to move to Los Angeles where his friend and fellow artist Elmer Watchel (1864-1929) resided. However, on his journey to Los Angeles, John Gamble stopped in Santa Barbara and being captivated by its beauty he ultimately decided to stay and live there instead.

In 1908, John M. Gamble traveled back to Paris and also to the Middle East. On his way back to Santa Barbara he stopped to paint at both the Grand Canyon and nearby desert areas. John Gamble began to enjoy national acclaim for his painting by the 1920s and even became known as the "Dean of Santa Barbara Artists."

A powerful earthquake shook Santa Barbara in 1925 but this time John Gamble's painting studio was not damaged. The devastation from the earthquake was significant and the city of Santa Barbara established an Architectural Board of Review with John Marshall Gamble as their color consultant. The artist would sit on the Architectural Board of Review for the city of Santa Barbara for the next 25 years.

In 1929, John Gamble joined the faculty of the Santa Barbara School of the Arts as teacher of advanced landscape and sketching with his artist friend Belmore Browne (1880-1954). As he grew older his eyesight began to fail and he began painting less as a result.

John Marshall Gamble died on April 7, 1957 after a brief illness - he was 93.

John Marshall Gamble Exhibitions

1889-1902 California State Fair
1891-1906 San Francisco Art Association, California
1894 California Midwinter International Exposition
1896-1897 Mechanics' Institute, San Francisco, California
1898 - 1906 Mark Hopkins Institute, California
1904 Bohemian Club, New York
1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, LA
1907-1912 Del Monte Art Gallery, Monterey, California
1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle, Washington
1910-1912, 1916 Kanst Gallery, California
1916 San Francisco Art Association, California
1924 Leonards Gallery, Hollywood, California
1925 Ebell Club, Los Angeles, California
1925 Cannell-Chafflin Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1927 Santa Barbara Art League, California
1927 Biltmore Salon, Los Angeles, California
1935 Public Library, Palos Verdes Estates
1938 Stendahl Galleries, Los Angeles, California
1939-1940 Golden Gate International Exposition, California

John Marshall Gamble Awards

1909 Gold Medal, Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle, Washington

John Marshall Gamble Memberships

San Francisco Art Association
Santa Barbara Art Association
American Federation of Arts
Foundation of Western Artists

John Marshall Gamble biography portrait photo.