Christian von Schneidau (1893–1976) was a well known California portrait painter who was recognized for his paintings of Hollywood stars and the Los Angeles elite. During the Roaring Twenties, he painted Mary Pickford and other figures from the film industry as well as a number of outdoor figures done in the classic American Impressionist manner. Von Schneideau was born in Sweden in 1893, with the name Bror Christian Valdemar Von Schneidau, but went by the shortened Christian von Schneidau. In addition to his portraiture, von Schneidau was also a landscape painter and a private teacher who passed on the French principles of instruction, which he learned at the Art Institute of Chicago to his students. Von Schneidau was also the founder of the Scandinavian-American Art Society in 1938 and severed as its president for many years. He was also an active member of the California Art Club. Von Schneidau moved to California in 1917 and immediately became part of the artistic life of his chosen home. He exhibited his painting of Joan de Arc at the California Art Club’s annual exhibit in 1918 and a portrait of the gallery owner Joseph Kanst the following year. Once in California, he was influenced by the high-key work of theCalifornia Plein Air Painting movement. He then met the American Impressionist Richard E. Miller who had been a member of the Giverny School and began to paint vigorously brushed landscapes as well as figurative works. Von Schneidau decided he needed further study, especially in painting figures out of doors, so he spent six months of 1920 studying with Charles Hawthorne (1872–1930) and Richard E. Miller (1875–1943) in the art colony of Provincetown, Massachusetts. When he returned from Massachusetts, he worked up a large number of paintings from his sketches, and in February 1921, had a solo exhibit at Kanst Gallery inLos Angeles, titled ‘Portraits, Figures, and Landscapes by C. von Schenidau.’ Some of these new works- high key portraits with a decorative appearance- are strongly reminiscent of the works of Decorative Impressionism, which his teachers Miller and Buehr began to experiment with in Giverny, France.
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