Beloved Carmel artist and early-day resident of Monterey, Elizabeth Strong is best known for her small paintings of animals. Since she specialized in paintings of animals (especially bird dogs), she was sometimes called “the Rosa Bonheur of America.”
Born in Westport, CT on February 1, 1855, she was the daughter of a Congregational minister. The Strong family lived in Hawaii as part of a missionary movement until 1858 when they settled in Oakland, California.
Elizabeth began her art studies in San Francisco at the School of Design under Virgil Williams and, during her two years there, won gold and silver medals for her work. In 1879 she sketched on the Monterey Peninsula while sharing a home with her brother Joseph D. Strong Jr. a well-known portrait and landscape artist. Through the sales of her pictures of pets of wealthy patrons she was able to save enough money for a lengthy stay in Paris. During the next eight years there she had further study with animal painter Emile van Marcke.
Returning to the U.S., she studied at the Art Student’s League of New York City under William Merritt Chase (1892-93) and then returned to Paris where she lived until 1905. While there, she attended the Jeune Fille School of Art and also ran a small school of her own. She exhibited often at the prestigious Paris Salon.
From Paris, she returned to California and lived in Berkeley until 1920. After settling on the Monterey Peninsula, she was active in the local art scene joining the painting colony headed by Jules Tavernier. She died in Carmel on October 30, 1941.
Member: SFAA; Sketch Club (SF); Carmel AA (cofounder, 1927); Carmel Arts & Crafts Club.
Exhibited: SFAA, 1875-1912; Mechanics' Inst. (SF), 1875-79; Calif. Midwinter Expo, 1894; Calif. State Fair, 1894, 1930, 1935; Paris Salon, 1901; Berkeley AA, 1908; Sketch Club, 1909; Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909 (silver medal); Del Monte Art Gallery, 1910.
In: Monterey Peninsula Museum.
Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"; Helen Spangenberg, YAMP