Theme/Style – Portraits, landscapes, florals, illustration, commercial art
Media – Oil, pastel, charcoal
Artistic Focus – Samuel H. Wainwright, Jr.’s career included commercial and illustration art, as well as landscape and portraiture. His landscapes included scenes of the California coast, as well as areas along the eastern seaboard; and his depictions of the richly-colored flowers of Bermuda were highly regarded.
Career Highlights –
- Samuel H. Wainwright, Jr. was born of missionary parents in Kobe, Japan in 1893. He began his art studies there as a small child, and later studied engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and architecture at Columbia University in New York before entering the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (later the Parsons School of Design), where he studied under Howard Giles, Edmund Greacen and Rae Sloan Bredin.
- Starting in 1915, Wainwright worked as a magazine illustrator and commercial artist through the late 1920s, and during World War I he worked with the Office of War Information on programs related to Japan.
- In 1918 Wainwright married artist Anna Austin Jacobs, and by the 1920s he was living in California, first in Palo Alto and then in Carmel and Berkeley.
- He exhibited with the Palo Alto Art Club in 1923, and his work also appeared on posters for the Southern Pacific Company in the late 1920s.
- By 1930 Wainwright seems to have relocated to the East Coast, where he devoted himself to a career as a portrait and landscape artist, spending time painting in various locales including Bermuda, Florida, New York, and in New England where he painted views of Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and the Maine coast.
- In 1934 Wainwright had a solo show of seascapes, portraits, and paintings of Bermuda flora at the Ferargil Galleries in New York.
- Wainwright published a 300-page book entitled Beauty in Japan in 1935, with 200 of his illustrations, in which he described the aesthetic aspects of Japanese life through its gardens, architecture, applied art, and other facets of its culture.
- In 1938, sponsored by the Tiffany Art Guild in New York, Wainwright engaged in a “portrait tour” of cities including Charleston, West Virginia, where he executed commissions to paint prominent citizens and exhibited his work in both landscape and portraiture.
- Wainwright had a solo show at the Stanford University Art Gallery in Stanford, California in 1940, and he was included in a show at the Oakland Art Gallery in 1942.
- During World War II Wainwright again worked for the Office of War Information, and was also a naval architect. Following the war, Wainwright worked as a set designer for 20th Century-Fox in Los Angeles, on films including “The Razor’s Edge.”
- During the course of his work in portraiture, Wainwright’s subjects included President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Leonard Bernstein; and he was also commissioned by NASA to do portraits of astronauts.
- After living in Bermuda and Denver, Colorado, by 1966 Wainwright was living in Casper, Wyoming, and a show of his paintings took place at the city’s First National Bank that year.
- Samuel H. Wainwright, Jr. passed away in Casper, Wyoming in 1969.
Bibliographic references are available upon request.