Lot Details

Academy Award–winning Frances Marion was one of the most respected and highest paid scriptwriters during the early days of Hollywood and became Gray’s benefactor in the 1930s.

This watercolor on paper typifies California artist Percy Gray. The scene depicts Aetna Springs, California. Aetna Springs is located outside of Sacramento and is known for its beautiful countryside. In this painting, Gray's ethereal brushstrokes allow for the massive oak to soar weightlessly into the clouds. The work measures 12.5 x 16.5 inches and comes beautifully framed with the original gilt frame.

Born in San Francisco, CA on Oct. 3, 1869. From a long line of British artists, Percy Gray studied locally at the School of Design under Emil Carlsen. He then worked as a quick-sketch artist for the San Francisco Call. In 1895 he moved to NYC where he spent 11 years working as head of the art department for the New York Journal. Gray returned to San Francisco in 1906 and joined the art department of the Examiner where he remained until about 1915. By that time he had established himself as a professional landscape painter. From 1918-23 he maintained a studio in San Francisco's old Monkey Block (now the Transamerica Pyramid) which also served as his living quarters. About 1910 he began signing his paintings in script instead of the block letters he had used since student days. Working from his studio attached to the house, Gray attained total mastery of his watercolor technique during his Monterey years. In 1939 they sold the home and after two years in San Francisco settled in San Anselmo in Marin County. The last year of Gray's life was spent as a resident of the Bohemian Club in his native city. He died of a heart attack in his studio on Oct. 10, 1952. Although he painted oils and produced 20 etchings, he is best known for his atmospheric watercolors. His works most often depict the glades and valleys of northern California, with slopes of poppies and lupines under oak and eucalyptus trees.

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Provenance:
  • From the California estate of Frances Marion and Fred Thomson. This piece was commissioned by Marion and obtained directly from the artist. Currently held in a private Florida collection.
  • Pickup Location: Florida, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 12.5 x 16.5 in. (31.75 x 41.91 cm.)
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