Artist Biography

Alfonse SONDAG
1874 - 1971

Alphonse Emile Sondag (1874-1971) was born in Paris, France on December 18, 1874. At an early age he was brought to San Francisco where he grew up and attended public school. At age seventeen he returned to Paris to study at Ecole des Beaux-Arts for three years followed by a year in Spain on a scholarship. Returning to San Francisco in 1896, he continued his studies at the Mark Hopkins Institute. At the turn of the century he lived in Honolulu for a few years where he painted many scenes of the Islands. Upon returning to San Francisco, Sondag established a studio and built a home in Fruitvale. After serving in World War One, he returned with paintings of many noted military figures and landscapes of French and Belgian villages. In the post-war years he was an active member of the San Francisco art colony in exhibitions at California Palace of Legion of Honor, Oakland Art Gallery, the old Mechanic's Pavilion, and the Fairmont Hotel. For a few years he worked as staff artist for the National Park Service. His four large murals of historical events of California attracted much attention on Treasure Island at the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939. In that year he and his family moved to a ranch in Kenwood, Sonoma County, where he continued painting the subjects for which he is best known: missions, adobes, the Mother Lode country and other historical spots in northern California. Equally facile with both oil and watercolor, he continued painting until his death in Santa Rosa, California on February 3, 1971. Exhibited: Oakland Art Gallery, 1932; San Francisco Art Ass'n, 1932; Sonoma County Library, Santa Rosa, 1976 (memorial). Works held: State Museum Resource Center (Sacramento); Society of California Pioneers; Oakland Museum; San Rafael (CA) Mission; Mendocino County Museum (Willits, CA); California State Library (Mission San Rafael ); Sonora Chamber of Commerce (Raising of the Bear Flag); Courthouses of Eureka, Ukiah, and San Rafael.

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