Artist Biography

1889 - 1955

Edwin Siegfried was born in Alameda, California on February 18, 1889 into a pioneer California family. His father was a prosperous tea importer who was a partner of Max and Joseph Brandenstein (forerunners of MJB Coffee). The family estate in Alameda at 2044 Alameda Avenue was complete with stables, tennis courts, and greenhouses to hold the family's orchid collection. During World War One Edwin served in the infantry. Upon returning home he began painting without the benefit of art training. Initially he worked in oils but soon abandoned that medium in favor of pastels. Reared in affluence, the artist cared little for money or social postition and for many years maintained a home and studio in the attic at 1819 Central Avenue in Alameda. He was also a fine musician and played the organ for silent movies in San Francisco. During the depression years he worked as an artist for the Works Progress Administration doing a series of California missions. Although large in stature, he was a gentle, shy man who remained unmarried and seemed to prefer the company of children and animals. Siegfried died at the Oakland Veteran's Hospital on April 3, 1955. His subjects include the Monterey coastline, Lake Tahoe, Point Reyes, and, most often, the saltwater marshes of Alameda. He often used a kitchen broom to create wind and rain in his works. Exhibited: Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939; Alameda Historical Museum, 1983 (retrospective). Works held: Alameda City Hall; Alameda Public Library; Alameda Historical Museum; Christian Science Church (Alameda); Athenian Nile Club (Oakland).

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