Lorenzo P. Latimer

painting owned by the club of a spring flowers blooming all around a house with a green tree
Lorenzo Latimer’s painting owned by the club of spring flowers blooming all around a house with a green tree

Lorenzo P. Latimer greatly influenced Nevada artists in the early 1900s. He was successful in the Bay Area of Northern California and traveled to Reno, Nevada, many times a year.

Born in Gold Hill, California, in 1857, Lorenzo Latimer grew up in Northern California. He attended the McClure Military Institute in Oakland, CA, in the mid-1870s and eventually went on to study under Virgil Williams is in San Francisco at the California School of Design. Later he went back to teach there himself and alsoconducted his own art lessons at the Mechanics Institute. He was appointed chair of the School Committee and held this position for 20 years, through multiple name changes, until it finally became The San Francisco Art Institute.

Building in San Francisco where the Bohemium Club is located

Latimer was a member of many art organizations in the Bay Area, including the SequoiaClub, San Francisco Art Association, Mechanics Institute, and Athenian Nile Club of Oakland. Throughout his career, Lorenzo Latimer received honors for his work, including election to various art societies and the inclusion of his large murals in World Fairs. His teaching and his body of paintings continue to inspire present-day members of the Latimer Art Club.

Among his many club memberships, the most rewarding affiliation was the Bohemian Club of San Francisco, which is still in existence today. Originally founded in 1872, members comprising writers, artists, poets, singers, and musicians were required to make significant contributions to the Arts on behalf of the Bohemian Club in order to maintain their membership.

The Bohemian Club owned a retreat called The Grove in Northern California; it comprised an ancient stand of redwoods by the Russian River, which Latimer became familiar with and greatly influenced his paintings. He celebrated the magnificent redwood forests and showcased their beauty in his work. Latimer worked in oils but was best known for his watercolor studies. Some of his finest paintings were of Nevada and Yosemite, where he embodied the beauty of the streams, rivers, and valleys in summer or autumn days.

Much of Laitimer’s work was done in the field or what is known as “Plein-air” painting. It was during these “Plein-air” excursions in the early 20th century that he captured the Sierras and numerous scenes of Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake. His landscapes and redwood trees won gold medals at fairs and expositions in Chicago and San Francisco. During his trips to the Tahoe area, Latimer began teaching students lessons in “Plein-Air” in Reno, Nevada.

lorenzo P Latimer Watercolor Pine and Rocks, Fallen Leaf Lakelorenzo P Latimer Watercolor Pine and Rocks, Fallen Leaf Lakelorenzo P Latimer Watercolor Pine and Rocks, Fallen Leaf Lake
Lorenzo P Latimer Watercolor Pine and Rocks, Fallen Leaf Lake

In 1921, with the guidance of Lorenzo P. Latimer, his students formed the Latimer ArtClub. During the winter months, while Mr. Latimer was in California, he would share a painting with the members to “copy,” and they would mail it back to him for critiques. These early members, known as “Latimers,” created a strong organization supporting the arts in the area. The club was incorporated in 1931 as plans for the Nevada Art Galleryprogressed; members were volunteers. Over the years, this has now become the Nevada Museum of Art. Mr. Latimer last visited the club for his 80 birthday in 1937. The club continues to remember him with a birthday card exchange in October.

Many of his paintings are on loan at the Wilbur May Museum in Reno, NV.

Photo of Lorenzo Latimer Painting
Black and White image of Lorenzo Latimer Painting