William Wendt was a German Impressionist landscape artist based primarily in the United States. Born in Bentzen, Germany on February 20, 1865, Wendt immigrated to Chicago area in 1880 to work as a staff artist illustrating formula pictures. He attended the Chicago Art Institute for a short while though remained largely self-taught. During the mid to late 1890’s, Wendt travelled abroad to England, Germany, France and also travelled around the United States, visiting California and the East Coast. After marrying sculptress Julia Bracken in 1906, the couple moved to Los Angeles where he co-founded and became the first president of the California Art Club. In 1912, he was elected an Associate of the National Academy and built a studio home that same year in Laguna Beach where he remained for the rest of his life. Prior to 1915, his works consisted of a lighter, smaller brushstroke, however, after 1915 his style developed into a broader, more bold brush stroke. He used bright, bold colors for his scenes and travelled through harsh conditions and uncharted territory to capture the perfect landscape.
William Wendt acquired multiple awards prior to his death on December 29, 1946 and sold his work consistently for thirty years throughout the United States. He remains loved by Californians today with the fond label of the “dean of Southern California artists.”