1920s 5

Louis Bassi Siegriest (February 24, 1899 – November 7, 1989) was an artist. He started as an Impressionist painter, then switched to Abstract Expressionism. 1 He was a member of the "Society of Six" group of artists, which often met at "Chow House", the cabin of member Selden Connor Gile on Chabot Road. 2,3

Siegriest was born in Oakland, and lived at 5185 Miles Avenue from 1899-c.1924 with his parents, Louis Siegriest and Emelia Bassi (Siegriest), and younger brother Selden Siegriest. Emelia had inherited the house from her parents, Giuseppe "Joseph" Bassi and Maria Bassi, who both died in 1898.

Louis attended the California College of Arts and Crafts. 5 A bio on AskArt.com says "He was born to a father who drove the first horse-drawn streetcars in Oakland and then made a fortune in the heating oil business with acetylene gas machines for gaslights." But that also incorrectly says he lived his entire life in the family home, 8 which was probably copied from The Society of Six: California Colorists by Nancy Boas. 10 His father did drive a streetcar, and was on the board of the Western Gas and Power Co. beginning in 1905, 13 but it seems likely much of the family wealth came from his mother's family. In any event, it is large, beautiful home and they were clearly well off, and Siegriest lived most of his life there. 11

He was married twice, first to Mabel Lundy (Siegriest) with whom he had a son, (Louis) Lundy Siegriest, who was also an artist. Following their marriage in 1924, they lived at 5333 Shafter, not far from his parents' house. The 1930 census shows them living in Milwaukee, WI. The 1940 census shows them living in San Francisco. By the 1950 census, they were divorced and Louis was living back on Miles Avenue with his parents.

Louis then married artist Edna Lehnhardt (Cowing) (Stoddart). 4,5

Siegriest died in 1989, and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery along with his parents and brother.

"Oakland Quarry", 1920 6"Gile's House", 1921 7

Links and References

1946 9

  1. Louis Siegriest on Wikipedia
  2. Society of Six on Wikipedia
  3. Selden Connor Gile on Wikipedia
  4. A portrait of an artist as an old man Oakland Tribune March 7, 1989 (p2)
  5. Artist Louis Siegriest is dead at 90 Oakland Tribune November 10, 1989
  6. A75.143.10 Oakland Museum of California
  7. A73.52.1 Oakland Museum of California
  8. Louis Siegriest - Biography AskArt.com
  9. Louis Siegriest UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
  10. The Society of Six: California Colorists by Nancy Boas
  11. Oral history interview with Louis Siegriest, 1975 April 5 Smithsonian, Archives of American Art
  12. Births San Francisco Chronicle February 26, 1899
  13. Articles of Incorporation San Francisco Examiner July 1, 1905