“Monument Valley Buttes”, circa 1909-10)
Francis John McComas, (1875-1938)
Watercolor on Paper
17.5″ x 21″
Exhibited: The Art Institute of Chicago, The Second International Water Color Exhibition, April 15-May 21, 1922, #86, (Exhibit catalog available)
from Vickery, Atkins & Torrey, San Francisco
|Francis John McComas was born in Fingal, Tasmania on Oct. 1, 1875. At age 15 McComas enrolled at the Sydney Technical Institute. Leaving Australia in 1898 with artist Myer Blashki, he worked his way to San Francisco as a merchant seaman. Upon arrival, he studied with Arthur Mathews at the Mark Hopkins Institute and continued in Paris at Académie Julian. Returning to San Francisco in 1902, he had his first solo show at Vickery’s, and in 1904 toured Europe with photographer Arnold Genthe. Architect Willis Polk and artist Charles Rollo Peters were attendants at his marriage to Marie Louise Parrott in San Francisco in 1905. In 1907, while traveling through Greece, the McComases were presented to the royal family. In 1909 and 1910 he spent time sketching in New Mexico and Arizona before settling into his new home in Carmel, CA in 1912. With Arthur Putnam and Mary H. Foote, he was one of three California artists invited to exhibit in the Armory Show of 1913 in NYC.|
At the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, he served on the Int’l Jury of Awards and was awarded a bronze medal for one of ten entries. In 1917 he divorced his wife and married artist Gene Frances Baker of Oakland. McComas died on Dec. 27, 1938 in Pebble Beach, CA.
He is nationally known for his landscapes of California oaks and cypresses as well as southwestern Indian subjects. Eugen Neuhaus summed up his style thus: “The decorative tonalism of his teacher, Arthur Mathews, is evident in his work. The color range of his watercolors is limited to the warm monochrome which is well suited for painting California’s warm summer hills.”
Member: San Francisco Art Association; Salmagundi Club; American WC Society; Philadelphia WC Society; Society of American Artists.
Exh: Vickery, Atkins, & Torrey Gallery (SF), 1899-1914; Lewis & Clark Expo (Portland), 1905; Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909; Armory Show (NYC), 1913; Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915; Philadelphia WC Club, 1918 (gold medal); American WC Society, 1921; Bohemian Club, 1922; Painters of West (LA), 1924; Courvoisier Gallery (SF), 1935 (solo); California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1935; Golden Gate International Expostion, 1939; California Historical Society, 1965 (solo).
Works held in Public Places: California Palace of the Legion of Honor; Oakland Museum; De Young Museum; Portland Museum; California Historical Society; Mills College (Oakland); Bohemian Club; Monterey Public Library; Metropolitan Museum. Source:
Edan Hughes, “Artists in California, 1786-1940”
Arts in California (R. L. Bernier, 1916); California Art Research, 20 Volumes; Francis McComas by Kent Seavey; American Art Annual 1927-33; Who’s Who in American Art 1936-40; History & Ideas of the American Art (Harmsen); West As Art; SF Chronicle & NY Times, 12-29-1938 (obits).