Louis Siegriest

artist artwork
Louis Siegriest was a native of California, born in Oakland in 1899. Siegriest attended night classes at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland while in high school, and transferred to the California School of Fine Arts to study with Frank Van Sloun, a former student of the influential American painters Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase. Years later, Siegriest taught at the Art League of California.

In 1919, Siegriest became a member of a group of Oakland plein air painters named the Society of Six, which included Maurice George Logan (1886-1971), William Henry Clapp (1879-1954), August Francois Gay (1891-1949), Selden Conner Gile (1877-1947) and Bernard James von Eichman (1899-1970). As a group they rebelled against the somber tones prevalent in California Art, preferring the palette of the French Fauvists. Rather, Siegriest was attracted to the more colorful and adventuresome paintings of modern European and American artists, first encountered at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. The Six actively exhibited in Oakland through the 1920ís before disbanding.

Siegriest moved on to abstract painting in his middle years. However, he seldom departed from the possibilities presented by the western landscape, and found inspiration during regular trips to New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada. In 1972, the Oakland Museum featured a major retrospective of Siegriest's work.

Siegriest came from a very wealthy family. He lived in his familyís mansion throughout his life, raising his own children there. He found occasional commercial work in the 20ís and 30ís, and taught at the San Francisco Art Students League from 1948-1951. In the later years of his life, his failing eyesight forced him to give up painting. He died in Oakland in 1989.

photo: Louis Siegriest with Nathan Oliviera