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Lorenzo Latimer (1857-1941)


Lorenzo Latimer was born in Gold Hill, California, in the heart of the state’s active gold country.  Latimer’s father was a lawyer who unsuccessfully tried his hand at gold mining before returning to law and ultimately a San Francisco judicial post.  Latimer attended McClure’s Military Academy in Oakland, and the San Francisco School of Design, and shortly after finishing there opened a studio on Clay Street.  His early years on his own in San Francisco were less than fruitfully productive as he fell in with a decidedly bohemian crowd.


Except for a three year period spent recuperating from an unknown ailment at his family’s ranch in the wine country, Latimer was creative, productive and industrious from about the mid-1880’s and later.  He exhibited frequently and taught at the Mark Hopkins Institute, as well as privately taking on students.  He traveled and sketched northern California extensively.


When the earthquake and fire destroyed much of his work in 1906, Latimer moved across the Bay to Berkeley where he set up a studio on Woolsey Street.  Clinging to his classic academic style, Latimer’s reputation as an artist waned with the introduction of more modernist styles of representation, but his success and bearing as an excellent instructor was never diminished.  Lorenzo Latimer taught classes for the rest of his life in the Bay Area, as well as Reno, Nevada.  Latimer died in Berkeley in 1941.  

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