|Jessie Arms Botke
Born in Chicago on May 27, 1883, Jessie Arms attended the Art Institute of Chicago beginning in 1902 and later spent one summer studying with Charles Woodbury in Ogunquit, Maine. In 1911 she moved to New York where she worked at Herter Looms preparing tapestry cartoons under the guidance of Albert Herter. She developed a special talent for depicting birds and assisted Herter with a mural for the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.
In 1914, on a brief stopover in Chicago, with her destination Santa Barbara, Jessie met Cornelius Botke. They were married in 1915 in Leonia, New Jersey, the beginning of a long marriage and working partnership. In 1918 they visited California and moved there the following year, settling in Carmel. From 1923 to 1925 they travelled throughout Europe and upon their return to America, they settled in the southern part of California near Santa Paula.
Jessie Arms Botke paintings are a unique and wonder-filled world all their own. Most often they are pictures of birds, a large variety including white peacocks, cockatoos, ducks, swans, geese, pheasants, and toucans, among others. The birds are shown in natural settings accompanied by carefully painted flora, with studiously observed renditions of leaves and flowers. Botke also, on occasion, painted beautiful tropical fish in subaqueous, settings. Far from being mere pictures of birds, plants or fish, her paintings are richly adorned with an abundance of minutely rendered detail: every petal, every leaf, every feather and every piece of coral, becomes an important element of the whole pictorial scheme.
Botke had a very successful and distinguished career, and was well known for her oil paintings and murals. Her paintings were widely exhibited both in the West and in the East. Her last major exhibition was held in 1967.
Studied : Art Institute of Chicago, with John Johanson, Charles Woodbury; Herter; Europe.
Member : California Watercolor Society; California Art Club; National Association of Women Artists; American Watercolor Society; Foundation of Western Art; Chicago Art Galleries; Grand Central Art Galleries.
Exhibited : Art Institute of Chicago,1904-15 (as Jessie Arms), 1917-27 (as Jessie Arms Botke), prizes, 1918,1919, 1926; Peoria Society of Allied Artists,1918 (medal); Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts,1919; National Association of Women Artists,1925 (prize), 1933 (prize); Sesqui-Centenial Exposition, Philadelphia, PA,1926; Southwest Exposition, 1928 (medal); Western Academy Painters, 1935 (prize),1936 (prize); Sanity in Art, 1938 (prize); National Academy of Design; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Corcoran Gallery, 1926,1932; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Golden Gate Exposition, San Francisco,1939; CPLH; California State Fair, 1947 (prize); Chicago Galleries Association,1951 (prize); Paris Salon.
Works held : Art Institute of Chicago; Nebraska Art Association; Santa Paula, Bakersfield, Gardena (California) High Schools, Mills College; Swope Gallery of Art; Norton Gallery of Art; Los Angeles County College; murals, University of Chicago' I. Magnin Co., Los Angeles; Woodrow Wilson High School, Oxnard, CA; Ojai, CA; Art Deco Restorations.
Sources : WW 66; WW 47; Hughes, Artists of California, 62; P&H Samuels, 60; Charles Woodbury and His Students,22; Trenton, ed. Independent Spirits, 58 (w/repro).