Granville Redmond was an American Painter, born to a hearing family. Granville Redmond contracted Scarlet Fever at around 2 1/2 to the age of 3; when he recovered, he was found to be deaf. This may have prompted his family’s decision to move from the East Coast to San Jose, California: the possibility for his education at the Berkeley School for the Deaf.
Granville Redmond attended the Berkeley School for the Deaf (later the California School for the Deaf) from 1879 to 1890 where his artistic talents were recognized and encouraged. There his teacher Theophilus d’Estrella taught him painting, drawing and pantomime.
When he graduated from CSD, Granville Redmond enrolled at another CSD: the California School of Design in San Francisco, where he worked for 3 years with teachers such as Arthur Matthews and Amedee Joullion. Granville Redmond famously won the W. E. Brown Medal of Excellence. Granville Redmond associated with many other artists, including Gottardo Piazzoni and Giuseppe Cadenasso. Piazzoni learned American Sign Language and he and Granville Redmond were lifelong friends. They lived together in Parkfield, California, and Tiburon.
1893 saw Granville Redmond win a scholarship from California School of the Deaf and from the School of Design, which made it possible for him to study in Paris at the Academie Julian under teachers Jean-Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant. At the Academie Julian, he roomed with sculptor Douglas Tilden, famous Deaf sculptor and another graduate of the California School for the Deaf. In 1895 in Paris his painting Matin d’Hiver, was accepted for the Paris Salon.
In 1898, he returned to California and settled in Los Angeles, where he painted many beautiful beach scenes. Granville Redmond was married in 1899 to Carrie Ann Jean, a former student of the Illinois School for the Deaf. Together they had three children. It is not known if they were Deaf or could hear.
While living in Los Angeles, he became friends with Charles Chaplin, who admired the natural expressiveness of a Deaf person using American Sign Language. Charles Chaplin asked Granville Redmond to help him develop the techniques Charles Chaplin later used in his silent films. Charles Chaplin, impressed with Granville Redmond’s skill gave granville Redmond a studio on the movie lot, collected his paintings, and sponsored him in silent acting roles – the sculptor in City Lights for example.
During this time Granville Redmond did not neglect his painting. Through Charles Chaplin he met Los Angeles neighbor artists Elmer Wachtel and Norman St. Clair. They showed works at the Spring Exhibition held in San Francisco in 1904. By 1905 Granville Redmond was receiving considerable recognition as a leading landscape painter and bold colorist. Granville Redmond’s artwork was sometimes compared to Matisse; he loved painting flowers and dark, moody scenes.
Granville Redmond’s work is in a variety of collections:
Irvine Museum, California
Laguna Art Museum, California
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University
De Young Museum, the Bancroft Library, San Francisco
California School for the Deaf
New York City Museum, New York
Oakland Museum, California
Granville Redmond’s Awards:
Gold Medal, W. E. Brown Award, California School of Design, 1891
Medal, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904
Silver Medal, Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition, Seattle, Washington, 1909
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