California House Painting

California House

Published June 5, 2016

calHouse Orig

This painting of a contemporary California house was painted and signed by Wm. J. Carpenter  in 1916 while in California.  There is no other information about it.  It is a watercolor on heavy paper, 18 3/4 X 11 1/4 inches, signed “W. J. C. 1916”.We know that sometime between 1912 and 1919 the Wm. J. Carpenter family resided in Hollywood, California on Beechwood Avenue, but we do not know the exact dates, nor for how long.

Mrs. Carpenter and her four sons  made the cross country vacation trip from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles during that period.  Details are sketchy but as told by “the boys”  they traveled by automobile, carrying their camping gear. On the trip there were few if any motels, and few hotels, often not in convenient places where tourists wished to stop.  So they pitched their camp in any convenient spot.

During the trip they  visited historic sites, National Parks, and anything else of interest.  It is reported that Mrs. Carpenter suffered an illness in California and as a result of a phone call from one of the young sons to their father he soon joined them, traveling by train, the only feasible way at that time.

We have not found any record of Mr. Carpenter practicing architecture while in California.  If true to his usual procedure this could be a rendering of a home that he designed; but it may have been a house they rented,  or just a scene that appealed to him. In later years he painted several scenes of the California missions which he had visited during this period.  It must have rekindled his interest in the Spanish style architecture, because he used it extensively as the basis for many of his designs after relocating to Florida .

It is not known when the family returned to Pittsburgh, but the boys attended schools in Beaver in 1918-19 until they moved to Florida.    Mr. Carpenter maintained office contacts in Pittsburgh, but the family established residence  in St. Petersburg, Florida about 1920.

Any other information about the Carpenter’s California Connection would be appreciated.  Please comment below.



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