Hanson Duvall Puthuff (American, 1875-1972)
The Garden, late 1930s
Oil on canvas 24 in. x 30 in. (60.96 cm x 76.2 cm)
Crocker Art Museum, Melza and Ted Barr Collection2008.106
Hanson Puthuff painted Southern California’s hills, canyons, mountains, and deserts. He painted still-life subjects less frequently, but when he did he usually painted flowers that he grew in his own garden, which he first planted shortly after his arrival in Los Angeles in 1903.
Born in Waverly, Missouri, Puthuff studied at the Chicago Art Institute. After moving with his foster mother to Colorado, he enrolled at the University of Denver Art School. He then pursued commercial work, painting murals, decorative friezes, and signs.
In Los Angeles, Puthuff continued to work as a commercial artist while at the same time producing easel paintings. He also taught and was an active leader in the Southern California art community. In 1926, he left the city and moved with his family to La Crescenta, where he could paint full time. According to the Puthuff family, it was there that he painted this work.
Puthuff’s first marriage in 1910 resulted in five children. He married a second time in 1940. Following his second marriage, he moved to La Cañada, where he continued his painting and gardening activities. “He painted a little, gardened a lot,” remembered his second wife, Louise, “people would stop to admire the gorgeous array of blooming roses, geraniums, cannas, snapdragons, et cetera, . . . as well as figs, persimmons, and hollyhocks. Our garden was a joy.”1 The couple later moved to Corona del Mar, California.
1. “Notes by Louise Puthuff,” in Hanson Puthuff, 1875–1972: California Colors (Pasadena: Pasadena Museum of California Art, 2007), 25.