Raymond Dabb Yelland

Artist Biography

Renowned for his radiant coastal scenes, Raymond Dabb Yelland spent most of his career in California where the rocky shorelines offered ample scenery for inspiration. Born in London, England, Yelland immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of three, settling in New York City. Yelland became interested in art at an early age and, after serving in the Federal Army during the Civil War, he studied at the National Academy of Design in New York. He briefly taught at the Academy before moving to Oakland, California in 1874 with his newlywed, Annie E. Meeker. In Oakland, Yelland taught drawing and painting at Mills Seminary and College and, later, at the California School of Design in San Francisco. He quickly became an important figure in the local art community in Northern California.

As his career progressed, Yelland embraced a luminist approach, bathing his quiet scenes in glowing light. He painted the craggy coastlines, sand dunes, and trails throughout Northern California, as well as parts of Oregon. The Monterey Peninsula became one of his most frequent destinations and, in 1889, Yelland built a studio in the area. Yelland’s work aligned with his interest in transcendentalist themes, as he portrayed the California landscape with a spiritual quality. Yelland continued to improve his artistic skills throughout his life, studying in New York and Massachusetts as well as in Paris with the French painter Luc-Olivier Merson. He exhibited throughout his career, including at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in San Francisco. Today, his work is found in the collections of the San Diego Museum of Art, Monterey Museum of Art, and Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum.

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