Edwin Roscoe Shrader

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"Domestic Scene with Mother and Children"
Oil on canvas
36 x 28 inches

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Edwin Roscoe Shrader was born in Quincy, Illinois on December 14, 1878. Having received a position in the physics and chemistry department at the University of Southern California, Shrader’s father moved the family to Los Angeles in 1885. Shrader’s father was a great influence in his career in art, education, and business. At a young age, Shrader was a successful student, attending Los Angeles High School and his father’s newly founded school, the Los Angeles Business College. He graduated from the Los Angeles Business College in 1895 at the age of sixteen and received his high school diploma in 1897 with a major in science.

For a short period of time, Shrader studied with artist and professor William Lees Judson at USC. At the same time, he saved money and worked for a couple years in business and in 1900-1901 taught at his father’s business school. Eventually returning to his interest in art, he applied and was admitted to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1901 where he studied for two years. Two influential professors were John C. Johansen, a painter whose artworks reflected techniques and influences of luminism, tonalism, and impressionism, and Thomas Wood Stevens, a mural painter, etcher, and head of the illustration department. Upon his departure from the Art Institute of Chicago, he returned to Los Angeles in 1904 and studied under Howard Pyle, a well-known illustrator and professor at the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art in Wilmington, Delaware. In the midst of what is often called "Golden Age of Illustration" from 1880s-1920s, Shrader’s career evolved as an illustrator for books and magazines such as Harper’s, Century, and Scribner’s.

While living in Wilmington, music continued to play an important role in Shrader’s life. He joined the Wilmington Chorale Society and met Elisabeth Condit, a feature soloist who soon became Mrs. Shrader in June 1912. The couple moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania in 1915 and joined the already burgeoning artist colony which included well-known painters such as William L. Lathrop, Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, and Charles Rosen. The New Hope colony prompted Shrader to explore Impressionist techniques in landscape painting. In June of 1917, the Shrader family returned to Los Angeles. Shrader began a career as a painter and soon after, as an art instructor. Becoming immersed in the art scene in Los Angeles, he joined the California Art Club and became well acquainted with artist William Wendt, the founder of the California Art Club in 1909.

In 1918, as Otis Art Institute opened its doors, Shrader was appointed by Channel Pickering Townsley, the managing director, as an instructor in drawing, illustration, and composition, and as lecturer on anatomy. By 1923, Shrader became the dean of the Otis Art Institute and was a prominent figure among the Los Angeles artists. As an active member of the Hollywood Art Association, the Shrader family often hosted receptions at their Highland Avenue home. In 1924, Shrader was elected as the president of the California Art Club, a position he held through 1930 and again in 1934. The 1920s was a prosperous decade for Shrader’s career, having often received accolades for his exhibition and artworks. The California Art Club awarded him the silver medal for his painting titled The Wreck in its 1926 exhibition, and in that same year, he received one of the club’s highest accolades, the Mrs. Keith Spaulding award for best western landscape at its 18th Annual Exhibition. He received the same award again in 1929.

Shrader retired from his position as dean of the Otis Art Institute in 1949 and held his last exhibition at the Altadena Town and Country Club not long after. Shrader continued to paint until his death on January 18, 1960. After his death, his wife Elisabeth Shrader continued to champion his work at small local exhibitions.

Member: Pasadena Art Association; California Art Club (president 1924-34); Wilmington Society of Fine Arts, Delaware; LA Friends of Art.

Exhibited: Hollywood Woman’s Club, 1918; California Art Club, 1918-34 (silver medal, 1926; Spaulding prize, 1927; Spaulding prize, 1929); Painters & Sculptors of Los Angeles, 1920-32; LACMA, 1922 (with John Coolidge), 1927 (with Mabel Alvarez), 1929 (with Boris Deutsch); University of Southern California, 1923; Biltmore Salon , 1923; Sixth Annual Exhibit of Painters and Sculptors of Southern California, 1926; San Diego FA Gallery, 1927; Utah Art Inst. (SLC), 1928; Altadena Town and Country Club, 1949.

Works Held: Hollywood High School; La Canada High School; Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; LACMA.

Janet Blake’s essay on Edwin Roscoe Shrader