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William Keith (American, 1839-1911)


Birth Place: Oldmeldrum (Aberdeenshire, Scotland, United Kingdom)

One of California's most successful and prolific painters of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, William Keith found a subject of enduring inspiration in the mountain landscape. He traveled to the area on numerous sketching trips, sometimes in the company of his great friend and fellow naturalist, John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club. Both men were natives of Scotland who met in the Yosemite Valley in 1872 and formed a lifelong bond. Both were committed to preserving California's natural beauty and wilderness areas, and both found supreme artistic inspiration in those lands.

For much of his life, Keith lived in Berkeley and commuted to his studio in San Francisco. He marked many of his paintings with an "S.F." below his signature to indicate the studio's location. In 1891, Keith shared his San Francisco studio with Tonalist George Inness, Sr. (1825-1894). At his death in 1911, Keith was said to have been the most financially successful artist in California.

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