William Wendt – Inspirational Landscape Paintings

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William Wendt (1865 - 1946) was a German-born American painter who was known for his bold and colorful landscapes. He spent much of his life painting the California landscape and his prominence earned him the title "the dean of Southern California artists".

Many of his paintings feature lush trees, rolling hills and a beautiful sense of atmosphere. It seems he enjoyed using short, jabbing strokes of thick paint and bold color, especially towards the end of his career.

One of the most interesting aspects of Wendt's paintings is how he utilized relatively hard edges to create these distinct shapes of color. This is similar to how Edgar Payne worked. Below is a perfect example of this. Notice in the mountains how Wendt did not soften the edges (as many artists would do), but instead left the edges relatively hard and used high-key colors to give a sense of atmospheric perspective.

William Wendt, Gentle Evening Bendeth, 1938
William Wendt, Gentle Evening Bendeth, 1938

Below are some more of his beautiful paintings:

William Wendt, A Grove of Trees, 1933
William Wendt, A Grove of Trees, 1933
William Wendt, Beloved Oaks and Sycamores, 1927
William Wendt, Beloved Oaks and Sycamores, 1927
William Wendt, California Stream, 1919
William Wendt, California Stream, 1919
William Wendt, Eucalyptus, Latuna, 1919
William Wendt, Eucalyptus, Latuna, 1919
William Wendt, Evening Calm, 1928
William Wendt, Evening Calm, 1928
William Wendt, Head of Amarillo Canyon, 1897
William Wendt, Head of Amarillo Canyon, 1897
William Wendt, Higher Altitudes, 1916
William Wendt, Higher Altitudes, 1916
William Wendt, Lupine Patch, 1921
William Wendt, Lupine Patch, 1921
William Wendt, Saddleback Mountain, 1919
William Wendt, Saddleback Mountain, 1919
William Wendt, The Bay, The Bar, The Sea, 1925
William Wendt, The Bay, The Bar, The Sea, 1925
William Wendt, The Cup of Gold, 1901
William Wendt, The Cup of Gold, 1901

If you enjoyed these paintings, then I recommend you check out In Nature's Temple, the Life and Art of William Wendt. It is a 300 page book which features many of Wendt's paintings in great detail.

Which is your favorite painting by William Wendt? My personal favorite is Gentle Evening Bendeth (the first painting in this post), mostly due to how he painted those mountains.

Additional Readings

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Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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15 thoughts on “William Wendt – Inspirational Landscape Paintings”

  1. Thanks for introducing me to Wm Wendt. The thing I noticed and liked in these paintings was his use of shadows in the fore and mid grounds. I will certainly study more of his work. Thanks again.

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  2. Hi Dan: Thank you for doing a wonderful job of teaching and sharing your knowledge.
    I live in Los Osos, next to Morro Bay, CA. I studied a local artist who befriended Wendt. This artist was Aaron Kilpatrick. He met Wendt in association with the early beginnings of California Art Club and they became friends. Wendt and Kilpatrick would go on painting trips and discovered the beauty of San Luis Obispo County. The date of this painting leads me to believe that it may have been painted while Wendt was with Kilpatrick in Morro Bay. The scene of “The Bay, the Bar, the Sea” definitely looks like a view from “Eagle Rock” as Kilpatrick called it. Locally known as Cerrito Peak. Kilpatrick bought property at the bottom of this peak and built his own house there in 1929. Wendt actually painted Kilpatrick house around 1930 which is called “A friend’s studio.”

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  3. Having traveled the Pacific Coast Highway and other visits to California, I am in awe of these landscapes. Frankly, I have always been to intimidated to even try a California landscape. I just can’t do the beauty justice. However, this artist makes me feel the constant breeze from the Pacific. Lovely.

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  4. Hard to choose just one but Lupine Patch captures so well those beautiful Oak clusters on the hills better than anyone else I’ve seen. The eucalyptus also, its very casual/loose style seems much like the trees themselves that seem to hang out enjoying the sunshine and ocean’s salty breeze. Thanks for sharing his work. California’s fires over the past year have injured so many places I love, and even though I was always amazed at the rapidity of nature’s repair, it feels like so much s. It feels healing to see these pieces of California’s beauty.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this and reminding me how much I love Wendt. Before I moved to Spain from California it was one of my last purchases so that I would have his book with me here. It was in some ways to bring a bit of California with me. Of the paintings you have chosen to show I think “Grove of Trees” speaks to me the most. The way in which he captures the depth from the foreground to background really gives the sense of entering the grove and feeling the sun and shade of the trees.

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  6. HI Dan. Thanks so much for sharing these amazing paintings and also your knowledge. My favourite is Saddleback mountain although they are all beautiful the colours are great. Thanks again Monique ☺

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing. Its hard to pick a favorite although the Gentle Evening Bendeth is so striking and reminds me of Edgar Payne’s amazing style. I like California Stream as it makes one want to be in the painting!

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