Catherine Comstock Seideneck Biography
~An accomplished artisan and teacher ~
Equally skilled as a painter of oil, watercolor, pastel, and oil wash
Catherine Seideneck was the daughter of Nellie Comstock, the Patron who gave the Carmel Art Association its initial building fund in 1927. Her brothers were Hugh and Hurd Comstock, who were early Carmel developers. Hugh developed the post-adobe construction method known as “Comstock.” He also designed and built Hansel-and-Gretel-style houses. Pedro Lemos, the first president of the Carmel Art Association, eventually purchased one of these houses and had it moved to its present Dolores Street location. It is now the Tuck Box Tea Room.
Born and reared in Illinois, it was there that she developed her early interest in fine art crafts and decoration, particularly leatherwork. She received her early training in crafts and “decorative arts” under Elbert Hubbard and “Herr Kranz” at the Roycroft Studio in East Aurora, New York, where she perfected the art of sculptured leather. She studied watercolor and pastel at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Catherine had moved to northern California by 1909, the year she became an instructor in crafts and jewelry design at the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club Summer School. In 1915 she continued her studies at UC and the CCAC. That same year she shared a gold medal at the P.P.I.E. (SF) for sculptured leather.
She was a permanent Carmel resident in 1919. She had met the artist George Seideneck and the two were married in 1920. They spent 2 ½ years in Europe studying and traveling before returning to Carmel where they started buying, decorating and selling houses. They opened a joint atelier in the Studio Building on Ocean Avenue at Dolores with an exhibition. Catherine’s career began to accelerate in the late 1920s. Both were active in the local art colony and both present at the first Carmel Art Association meeting in 1927. The couple’s travels and social contacts were often recorded in the Carmel Pine Cone.
In1929 they bought 34 acres in Carmel Valley and built their own home. It was a combination of their decorative skills and crafts and was a showplace of ceramics, wrought silver and copper, and became a bit of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Carmel Valley.