Anna Althea Hills

Desert Gold

1924, Oil on canvas, 24 x 32 inches


Jonathan Art Foundation, acquired with major funding by the Betty and Richard Oxford Trust



Jonathan Art Foundation Announces New Acquisition



We at the Jonathan Art Foundation are delighted to announce our first acquisition by famed early California painter Anna Althea Hills (1882-1930). This purchase is part of a continuing mission, begun in earnest five years ago, to increase the representation of female artists in our collection, women who have achieved recognition by the great scholars of that genre, so that we may build the most comprehensive Southern California Impressionist survey possible.      


Anna Hills was one of the highly talented artists who put Laguna Beach on the map as a premier art colony during the early twentieth century. Born in Ohio, she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Woman’s School of Art in New York. Like many artists of her generation, Hills continued her studies in Europe. Her longest period was spent in England, at St. Ives, Cornwall. Returning to the U.S., she moved west in 1912 and established herself in Laguna Beach. 


Once in California, she responded to the bright light and rich, colorful landscape. She remarked that she had to retire her “European” palette and start over with brighter colors. She traveled widely and became particularly attracted to the desert landscape. She worked primarily in oil, using brushes and palette knifes. Her palette knife work is highly distinctive.


Hills also became a well respected teacher, welcoming many art students to her studio from around the U.S. A founding member of the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918, Hills was one of its most dynamic and progressive leaders and was a driving force in creating and funding the first permanent LBAA gallery. Hills died in 1930, shortly after the gallery’s opening.

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