John Marshall Gamble Biography

Born in Morristown, New Jersey, John Gamble is known for his California floral coastal and landscape paintings, especially fields of poppies and lupines. From Santa Barbara, he was one of the leaders of the California plein-air painting movement. He was also a successful portrait painter.
     His father worked for a steamship company, and as a teen teenager, Gamble moved with his family to Auckland, New Zealand, and then in 1883, when he was age 20, he went to San Francisco. There he trained with Virgil Williams and Emil Carlsen at the San Francisco School of Design. Following this period, he went to Paris to study at the Academie Julian with Jean Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant.
     He opened a studio in San Francisco but relocated to Santa Barbara after his studio was lost in the big fire in 1906. For twenty-five years, he was color consultant for the Santa Barbara Board of Architectural Review but made a good living from the sale of his paintings. For the opening of the Fox Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, he created a huge panoramic landscape on the stage curtain.
     He painted in Arizona including the Grand Canyon, but his reputation was for vibrant wild flower painting, influenced by the poppy fields of French Impressionist Claude Monet. He also painted coastal views of Pacific Ocean sunsets. One of his closest painting companions was Elmer Wachtel.

MEMBERSHIPS: SFAA; Santa Barbara AA; American Federation of Arts; Foundation of Western Artists

EXHIBITIONS: Calif. Midwinter International Expo, 1894; Mark Hopkins Institute, 1898, 1906; Alaska-Yukon Expo, Seattle, 1909 (gold medal); SFAA, 1916; Stendahl Galleries, LA, 1938; Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939.

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS: California Historical Society; Oakland Museum; Crocker Museum, Sacramento; Shasta State Park; Museum of Art, Auckland, New Zealand; Fox Arlington Theater, Santa Barbara (murals)

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"