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THEODORE WORES (Hungarian/German/American, 1859-1939).

Theodore Wores was born in San Francisco on August 1st, 1839 to Hungarian-German parents. He began his art training at the age of twelve under the supervision of Joseph Harrington, an Irish-American artist who had

studied in Rome. At the age of fifteen Wores became one of the first students to enroll in the newly-opened San Francsico School of Design. After studying there with landscape artist Virgil Macey Williams, Wores traveled to Munich where he became a student at the Royal Academy for a period of six years. During this period he travelled with the “Duveneck Boys” a group of young artists who followed Frank Duveneck, an American painter living in Munich, on expeditions to Paris, Rome, Florence and Venice.

After returning to San Francsico in 1882, Wores made two extended visits to Meiji, Japan, where he was in residence from 1885 to 1887 and again from 1892 to 1894. These sojourns were followed by exhibits of his Japanese-influenced works in New York and London. Wores mixed with important literary and artistic figures in London, and became acquainted with both the expatriate American painter James Abbot McNeill Whistler and Oscar Wilde. His palette increasingly favored Impressionist color schemes, and in the late 1880’s Wores had a studio in New York City, where he was a neighbor of William Merrit Chase.

Wores made painting trips to Hawaii (1901) – where he painted “The Lei Seller” now in the collection of the Honolulu Academy of Art — Samoa (1902) and Spain (1903) before finally settling in San Francisco in 1906. In 1907 Wores became the Dean of Faculty of the San Francisco Art Association, and embarked on a series of paintings of the American West.

Theodore Wores also made a second visit to Hawaii in 1910-11, and travelled in Arizona and New Mexico in the following years where he gathered information to complete large scale paintings of Hopi and Navajo scenes.

The rise of modern art dismayed Wores, who had a commitment to traditional artistic skills. Living on Nob Hill in San Francisco and also Saratoga, he became active in the “Society for Sanity in Art” a national organization dedicated to maintaining traditions in art. The Society for Sanity in Art, originally founded in Chicago by Josephine Hancock Logan was opposed to all modern styles including cubism, abstract expressionism, surrealism and fauvism.

Wore’s late works, mainly landscapes of California, are considered among his finest works, but they recieved little attention during the artist’s lifetime due to the fact that his style had fallen out of fashion.

After his death in 1939 Wore’s wife Carolyn gave many of his works to museums, but it was not until the 1970’s that his work again began to gain national recognition.

Works by Theodore Wores can be found in the following collections:

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts
The Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
The Honolulu Academy of Art

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