Oil on canvas board, signed lower right, in a designer frame. This richly colored depiction of a mine in California's Gold Country exemplifies Carl Thorp’s frequent use of saturated colors and intelligent composition, qualities that set him apart and were an expression of his pure love of painting, his free spirit, and his generous nature as an artist and teacher in his community. Though he rarely exhibited in galleries, Thorp was a skilled, prolific, and popular artist, whose American landscapes captured scenes of both towns and rural areas with vibrance and originality. Carl Maurice Thorp was born in Lubbock, Texas in 1912, and left home for California in 1928, at the age of 16. After studying art in San Diego, at the State Teachers College under Maurice Braun and at the Academy of Fine Arts under Alfred Mitchell, Thorp spent the ensuing years traveling in California and painting outdoors. Following World War II, Thorp moved to San Francisco and had a studio-home at 2733 Lombard Street, where he directed the Carl M. Thorp Art Center and taught art classes in the mid-1950s. Also during the 1950s, Thorp taught at the Peninsula Arts and Crafts School of Fine Arts in San Mateo, along with George Post and Ray Strong, and also taught landscape painting at the Burlingame Art Society. In 1956, Thorp exhibited a painting of a wharf scene (described as being “in brilliant color” by the Oakland Tribune) at the 2nd Annual Jack London Square Art Festival in Oakland. That same year he also exhibited a seascape at the 27th statewide painting exhibition presented by the Santa Cruz Art League. A member of the Society of Western Artists and the Northern California Artist Association, Thorp was gregarious, hardworking, and often-collected, with a wide range of admirers including celebrities such as the Gabor sisters, and singers Robert Merrill and Connie Francis. Thorp moved to New Orleans in the late 1950s, where he joined the bohemian group of artists in the city’s French Quarter, who set up their easels on the sidewalk and displayed their paintings for sale on the fences at Jackson Square. Thorp spent summers painting in Rockport and Gloucester, Massachusetts, also stopping in New York’s Greenwich Village and regularly showing at the Annual Washington Square Arts Show. He exhibited in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1969, and had a one-man show there in 1970. In 1977 Thorp was a blue ribbon winner at the Annual Louisiana River Road Show in Hammond. Still making his home in New Orleans, by 1970 Thorp had a studio and living quarters on Bourbon Street, where he continued to teach and work until 1975, when he moved to Franklinton, Louisiana. Thorp was actively involved in cultivating and supporting the artists of the Franklinton area, where he helped found the Washington Parish Art Association as well as maintaining a studio and teaching art classes until his death in 1989. Still fondly remembered by his students and fellow painters, Thorp continues to be honored with the yearly award of Southeastern Louisiana University’s Carl M. Thorp Memorial Art Scholarship.
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