Hanson Duvall Puthuff was an early member of what is now known as the eucalyptus school of California landscape painters. Raised in the Midwest and Colorado, he studied with Ida De Steiguer (active 1881-1907) at the Fine Arts Department of the University of Denver from 1890 to 1893 and at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He began his professional career in Peoria, Illinois, painting murals in the city hall and local churches. For nine years he worked as a sign painter in Denver. In 1903 Puthuff settled in Los Angeles to work for the Wilshire Advertising Firm. Except for a year spent in Chicago in 1906, where he worked for the Sasmun Studio as a set painter along with Victor Higgins (1884-1949), Puthuff remained in California. Until 1926 he supported himself as a commercial artist, painting billboards, theatrical advertisements and backdrops, and museum dioramas. His major work at this time included commissions for the decorations of Homer Laughlin’s new theater in Long Beach, c. 1915, the backdrops for the first habitat displays installed at the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art, 1924, backgrounds for model displays of the Sante Fe Railroad in various cities around the country, until the 1940s, and the panoramas for the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial in the American Museum of Natural History in New York, 1938.
Puthuff executed easel paintings throughout the time he worked as a commercial artist. Before he came to California his work largely consisted of figure paintings, but after his move to Los Angeles Puthuff became so enamored with the countryside that he became a landscape specialist. His late paintings were mostly of the La Crescenta area around his home, of the Sierras, and of Arizona. In 1904 he was given his first solo exhibition, and by 1914 the first of several solo museum exhibitions of his work was held at the Los Angeles Museum. He also exhibited throughout the country in national exhibitions. Puthuff was active in local art organizations, helping establish the Painter’s Club, predecessor of the California Art Club, and, with his friend the critic Antony Anderson, the Art Students League of Los Angeles. He was also an active member of the Laguna Beach Art Association.
George Wharton James, "Hanson Puthuff and His Work: A Study and an Appreciation," Arroyo Craftsman 1 (October 1909): 31-37 § Everett Carroll Maxwell, "Painters of the West-Hanson Puthuff," Progressive Arizona 11 (September 1931): 10-11 § Louise and Hanson Puthuff, Hanson Duvall Puthuff: The Artist, the Man, 1875-1972 (Costa Mesa, Calif.: Privately printed, [c. 1974]), with autobiography, notes by Louise Puthuff excerpts of reviews (1909-73), reprinted correspondence (1967-74), lists of organizations and awards § Moure with Smith 1975, pp. 202-3, with bibliography § Westphal 1982, pp. 84-89, with lists of awards and public collections, bibliography.