Anna Althea Hills (1882-1930)
Born in Ravenna, Ohio, Anna Althea Hills was a prominent California landscape painter who was also remembered as a civic leader in Laguna Beach. In addition to painting in her native state, she was active in Arizona.
She was raised in Olivet, Michigan, and attended Olivet College. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Cooper Union in New York, and privately with Arthur Dow. After further study at the Academie Julian in Paris and traveling throughout Europe for four years, she moved to Laguna Beach in 1913 and was painting in Arizona as early as 1914.
The landscape of the West inspired her to adopt a light, colorful Impressionist palette. In spite of a severe spinal injury, she took adventurous painting trips into remote mountain areas. She was a six-year president of the Laguna Beach Art Association and helped raise funds to build the existing museum.
Her early works of genre and interiors were much darker than her later California landscapes and marine scenes. She combined watercolor and oil and painted in a decorative style.
Member: California Art Club; Laguna Beach Art Association (president).
Exhibited: Kanst Gallery, Los Angeles, 1913, 1914, 1916 (solos); California Art Club, 1914-16; San Francisco Art Association, 1916; Ebell Club, Los Angeles, 1918, 1930 (solos); Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science and Art, 1919, 1924; Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, c.1917; Laguna Beach Art Association, 1974 (solo); California State University, Long Beach, 1976 (solo); California State Fair, Sacramento; Washington Water Color Club, DC; Artists of Southern California, San Diego; Chicago Galleries Association.
Works held: Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA; Laguna Art Museum; Irvine Museum.
Sources: Artists in California: 1786-1940, Edan Hughes
Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, Phil and Marian Kovinick
Whitewater, Near San Jacinto Mountains 1924 Oil on canvas, 24 x 32 inches Acquired with major funding by the Betty and Richard Oxford Trust