Frederick Butman

Paintings in Inventory (Click on an image for a larger view)

Frederick Butman was California’s first professional landscape painter, coming to the state from his native Maine in 1857. His large landscapes portraying such subjects as Yosemite, Mount Shasta and Mount Hood were strong influences on the young Thomas Hill and William Keith and sold for “fabulous sums” to the new tycoons building mansions on Rincon Hill and South Park. (Californian, Oct. 13, 1866). Mount Shasta was a favorite subject that Butman painted from various points of view. His most important Shasta painting, now in the collection of the Berkeley Art Museum, was exhibited in the 1864 Christian Commission Fair and elicited much favorable notice in the press. Our smaller work depicts the mountain from a point of view near little Heart Lake south of the peak, although some poetic license has been exercised by the artist. Butman often neglected to sign his paintings, but his style is distinctive, with soft lavender tones creating harmonies in the distance. This is a rare and wonderful example from the early days of California art history.