Grace Hudson

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About this artist

Grace Carpenter Hudson’s fame rests on her accurate portraits of the Pomo people of Northern California. In her teens Hudson studied in San Francisco at the California School of Design with Oscar Kunath (died 1904) and Raymond D. Yelland (1848-1900). In 1889 she set up a studio back home in Ukiah and began giving art lessons. Although she remained in Northern California for most of her life, her work was widely known. In the 1890s she began to participate in national exhibitions and her illustrations began appearing in various periodicals, including Cosmopolitan, Overland Monthly, Sunset, and Western Fields.

In 1890 she married Dr. John W. Hudson and began painting the Pomo. Her husband shared her fascination with them and eventually abandoned his medical practice to assist his wife and pursue his own related interests, researching and writing on the ethnology of the Native Americans. Recording the vanishing Pomo culture became their shared lifelong passion. Hudson expanded her subject matter on two occasions: in 1901 she spent nine months in Hawaii painting native children, and in 1904 the couple were commissioned by the Field Museum of Chicago to document the Pawnees of Oklahoma. She continued painting until 1935, not drastically changing her somewhat sweet, but realistic depiction of the Pomo.

Ukiah, Calif, The Sun House and Grace Hudson Museum, Grace Hudson Papers § Ninetta Eames, "The California Indian on Canvas," Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly 43 (April 1897): 380-87 § San Francisco, California Historical Society, Grace Carpenter Hudson (1865-1937), exh. cat., 1962, with text by Joseph Armstrong Baird, Jr. § Searles R. Boynton, The Painter Lady: Grace Carpenter Hudson (Eureka, Ca.: Interface California Corp., 1978), with illustrated catalogue raisonné § Palm Springs (Calif) Desert Museum and others, The Pomo: Gifts and Visions -- Paintings of Pomo Indians by, Grace Carpenter Hudson, exh. cat., 1984, with text by Katherine Plake Hough.