George Demont Otis was born in Memphis, Tennessee on September 21, 1879. After three seasons as a pitcher for the Memphis and Nashville Cubs, Otis abandoned a promising baseball career to pursue art. He first studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago at age 14 followed by work at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and in New York at the Cooper Union, The National Academy of Design, the Art Students League, The Brooklyn Academy and with Robert Henri, William Merritt Chase and John F. Carlson.
While based in Chicago he traveled extensively, often in the company of Thomas Moran. Early in the century he lived in Colorado, Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. After moving to Los Angeles in 1919, he established a studio in Burbank where he worked for the movie studios. In his leisure he made frequent painting trips to the Indian reservations of Arizona and New Mexico. Moving to San Francisco in 1930, he established a studio in the former Arthur Putnam home and in 1934 moved across the Golden Gate to Kentfield.
He taught hundreds of
students in his lifetime; however in 1939 he stopped teaching to devote the last
years of his life to painting. A nationally recognized impressionist painter, he
specialized in mountain landscapes, sycamore and eucalyptus trees, missions and
seascapes. A leader in conservation, he is known as the artistic father of Point
Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National recreation areas. Otis died
in his Kentfield home on February 25, 1962.
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