Marion Kavanagh Wachtel (1870-1954) was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born into an artistic family, both her mother and great-grandfather were artists. Marion Wachtel studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and she would later become a teacher there. She was also popular in the Milwaukee area for painting portraits.
Marion Kavanagh married artist Elmer Wachtel (1864-1929) in 1904 and the two were steadfast painting companions. In her watercolor paintings, Marion Wachtel was predominantly a Tonalist painter and there is little in her work to suggest an interest in Impressionism. Some of her oil paintings however lean more toward Impressionism as one occasionally sees a brilliant array of bright colors and vibrant brush strokes. Her later works, many of which were oil paintings, are landscapes done around her home on the Arroyo Seco, the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and several views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
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