Sophie Marston Brannan Biography

Sophie Marston Brannan was born December 11, 1877 in Mountain View, California, though she grew up in San Francisco.  Apparently a precocious child, Brannan had an exhibition of pencil drawings at age twelve. She had begun her studies at age seven at the California School of Design. As an adult, she studied in Paris, France around 1898-1899, returning to the School of Design to study with Arthur F. Mathews.

     Her exhibition years were approximately from 1896 through the early 1930s. She lived in New York City from 1910 until returning to San Francisco around 1940, though she often visited California during that period. A representational artist, she made frequent expeditions to paint the landscape and historic buildings of the Bay Area counties of Napa, Monterey, Marin, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara from 1901 to 1918, working in oil, watercolor and pastel. She painted an old customs house, General Sherman's Headquarters, coastal views, fishing boats and many landscapes with oak trees.

     Brannan exhibited widely in prestigious group shows in the East, including four New York City locations: Women's Art Club of New York; National Academy of Design; American Watercolor Society; and the New York Watercolor Society; as well as the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, New York; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; and, in the Midwest, the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. Two one-person exhibitions during World War I, include the Macbeth Gallery, in New York City, 1915; and William Keith Galleries, San Francisco, 1916.

     Similarly, Brannan's paintings are in the collections of major institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago; Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; National Academy of Design; and Corcoran Gallery of Art.

     Sophie Marston Brannan died in San Francisco, California on March 16, 1960.

Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, "Women Artists of the American West"