Ernst William Christmas

Painting in inventory—

Ernst W. Christmas painting

Ernst William Christmas (1856-1918)
“Moonrise at Sunset”
20” x 16″, signed and titled, oil on canvas, original frame.

E.W. Christmas (1856-1918) was born in Australia and studied art in his native country before moving to England, where he exhibited his paintings for many years at the Royal Academy and other galleries. Described as “a Britisher in every sense of the word,” Christmas traveled far and wide, spending the years 1905 to 1908 in New Zealand, while also visiting San Francisco during this period. He was elected to The Royal British Academy in 1909 and then departed for Argentine and Chile where he spent several years. Christmas returned to San Francisco around 1914 and set up a studio here. In 1914 he journeyed to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska and exhibited a painting of Mount Rainier at the Rabjohn and Morcom Gallery in San Francisco. His paintings Moonlight in the Argentine and Christ of the Andes won a bronze medal at the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915.

In February of 1916, Christmas held an exhibition of over forty paintings at the art gallery in the Castle and Cooke real estate offices in San Francisco before departing for Hawaii, where he intended to sketch before returning to San Francisco. He fell ill during a sketching tour to the volcanos and died in Honolulu in 1918. Christmas’ works are rare, but our painting reveals that he worked in the mystical tonalist tradition embraced by such California artists as Arthur Mathews and Gottardo Piazzoni.