Frances Upson Young - High Sierra Landscape - circa 1940s Oil on Canvas P2972
A very fine landscape by a distinguished California artist. The canvas measures 19" x 23", and the frame is 26" x 30".
Young, Frances Upson 1870–1950
Frances Upson was born on January 11, 1870, in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Joseph Edwin and Cornelia (Lyman) Upson. Raised and educated in Cleveland, she attended the Cleveland School of Art, and according to her biographical index card on file at the Laguna Art Museum, also studied with H.S. Gibb in Alnwick and Oxford, England.
In 1892, she married Robert Young, an attorney, and after several years of marriage, in the late 1890s, the couple moved to California and settled in Hollywood. In Hollywood, Robert Young served as the first city attorney, beginning in 1903, before that community was annexed to Los Angeles. The couple had two children: Clarence Upson Young, who became a motion picture screenwriter, and Frances Mary Young Salazar.
According to her own account, in California, Frances studied with fellow artists Paul Lauritz, Lorenzo Latimer, Anna Hills, and Beatrice Whittlesey. Although an accurate history of the years of her study is lacking, it is documented that she was a member of the Ruskin Art Club, West Coast Arts, and the Laguna Beach Art Association. She joined the latter organization in 1924 and is listed as an associated artist on that group’s 1935 Festival of Arts brochure, Exhibiting Painters in the Festival of Arts, 1935. There is also a record of her participation in the Laguna Beach Art Association Spring Prize Exhibition of 1939. For many years, she and her husband frequented Laguna Beach, and upon his retirement, they settled there in the early 1930s. With her husband’s death in 1938, she continued to live in Laguna Beach, and on the 1940 United States Census, she lists her occupation as “artist”.
It should be noted that the artists Frances Upson Young and Florence Young, are frequently mistaken as being one and the same. They are, however, two separate and distinct individuals, as well as artists. The confusion may have begun as early as 1932, when both artists were listed in the December 1932 California Arts & Architecture magazine’s state-wide directory of artists. A typographical error in the listing for Frances, inadvertently giving her first name as Florence, may be the root of decades of confusion.
Although their respective signatures are very similar, which further complicates proper identification; there are distinguishing features for each. Frances’ signature is like a printed script, letters separated with an elongated tail on the “g” of Young extending left under the name. Frances often signed her work “F.U. Young,” “F. Upson Young,” or just “Young”; Florence signed “F. Young,” “Florence Young,” or just “F.Y.” With Florence, almost always, the top line of the “F” extends far to the right over the Young, while the tail of the “g” on Young extends to the left under the name; the extended letters almost form a rectangle around the name.
Frances Upson Young passed away on August 23, 1950. in Laguna Beach, California and is buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, California.
Biography submitted by Maurine St. Gaudens
Emerging from the Shadows: A Survey of Women Artists Working in California, 1860-1960, Maurine St. Gaudens, Editor, 2016.