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William Keith was a leading Northern-California landscape artist known for grand panoramic landscapes, often depicting the High Sierras. Referred by many as the ‘Dean of California painters,’ he became one of the wealthiest artists in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His romanticized views of nature found much favor among the culturally-aspiring citizens of San Francisco and his work hung in many of their elegant homes.

In 1872, Keith arrived at the Yosemite Valley cabin of naturalist John Muir with a letter of introduction, and a friendship quickly developed. Muir shared his in-depth knowledge of nature with Keith and exposed the artist to many remote, scenic areas. The two Scottish immigrants took camping trips together in the Sierras, always visited when Muir was in San Francisco, and helped inspire one another’s work. In fact, the concept of the Sierra Club was first formed in Keith’s studio during conversations that included Muir, Dr. Joseph LeConte, the first president of the University of California, and Warren Olney, a prominent San Francisco attorney.

Antoine Borel, San Francisco, California, circa 1890
Present owner, by descent

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