Edgar Payne (1882-1947)


Known for his Western landscapes and waterscape paintings Edgar Payne was born in Washburn, Missouri in 1882. Having left home at the age of fourteen, Payne made his way to Chicago working as a house, sign and set painter. He soon became well-known as a set painter and was commissioned to paint an 11,000 square foot mural for Chicago’s Congress Hotel. Payne enrolled in classes at the Art Institute of Chicago but soon dropped out. He joined the Chicago Society of Artists and the Palette and Chisel Club, and began traveling around the country for new subject matter to paint.

On his first visit to California in 1909, he spent several months painting in Laguna Beach. He next visited San Francisco where he met artist Elsie Palmer, whom he married in Chicago in 1912. The Payne’s settled in Laguna Beach, where Payne became an important part of the art community, being named the first President of the Laguna Beach Art Association.

Payne is internationally renowned for his depictions of the High Sierras, Indians riding through desert canyons and landscapes of the Sierra Nevada, as well as French and Italian boat scenes. He authored a book titled, Composition of Outdoor Painting.

Edgar Payne’s works are held in the collections of the National Academy of Design, New Mexico Art Association, Art Institute of Chicago, Orange County Museum of Art, Irvine Museum, Chicago Museum, Indianapolis Museum, Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena Museum, Southwest Museum, Fleischer Museum of Art, Phoenix Art Museum, Springville Museum of Art, Brigham Young University Fine Arts Collection, and National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.