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Mount Shasta as a Visual Resource

Scope

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Siskiyou the Golden, front page, Yreka Newspaper, County Fair issue, circa 1920.  Courtesy Blue Goose Railroad Collection. This book is limited in scope to those artists who were born before the turn of the 19th century, and who were actively painting and sketching during the one hundred years following the arrival of the first artists at Mt. Shasta in 1841. As mentioned, these artists have assumed various roles: as explorers and mapmakers, as newspaper and commercial illustrators, as landscape painters of the 1860s and 70s, as Barbizon style landscapists, as Plein Air landscapists, as woodblock carvers and as watercolorists. No matter what the style or purpose of their art, they all seemed to have shared a love of adventure and travel, and they found something special about the mountain which they recorded as much for themselves as for those who would later see their work.

Whenever possible I have taken quotations from the artists themselves. All of these artists were celebrities of one degree or another, and there is a surprising amount of biographical material available concerning their experiences in the Mount Shasta region. They tell of their impressions of the giant trees, the grizzly bears, and of the Indian tribes. They talk of the beauty of the mountain and their pilgrimages to it. They describe the rigors of being an artist and the difficulty in placing a whole mountain on a piece of canvas. In short, when it comes to understanding their art, the words they wrote and spoke are often as important as the paintings and drawings themselves.

 

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