Galan Wolf
Sacramento River, 1919
Watercolor on paper
Image size; 6 X 9.75
Framed size: 16.25 X 16.5

Galan Wolf Biography

Galen Wolf was born in San Francisco in 1889, then a city of gaslights, sailing ships, and cobbled streets. As a boy, he often visited his grandparents in Half Moon Bay, walking from the train depot in San Mateo—or hitching a ride on the stage—and returning to the city on the following day.

In 1900, he began studying art under the tutelage of Gertrude Boyle, already an acclaimed sculptress and secretary to Joaquin Miller. It was at Miller’s enclave in the Oakland hills that Galen met such luminaries as Jack London, George Sterling, John Muir, and William Keith, the revered California landscape painter.

Galen traveled abroad with his brother, grandmother, and aunts in 1905. He spent his fifteenth year making the Grand Tour of western Europe and the Mediterranean, sketching and painting daily. He was most impressed and influenced by the work of the Impressionists in France and the ancient frescoes and mosaics he saw in Italy.

As a young man he gave up his pursuit of art to enter the family business, but continued to paint plein aire in his 20s and 30s on annual vacations to the Sierras. After a series of business and personal setbacks, he left Stockton and environs, where he had lived for 18 years.

In 1932, Galen settled in a cabin on the family’s ranch in Wolf Canyon, a remote tract of land bordered by Frenchman’s Creek. There, until his death in 1976, he sketched and painted the landscape he loved—in watercolor, oil, and occasional prose. His legacy was a body of work covering more than seven decades, which included series of the California missions, Sierra lakes and peaks,  and a Federal Arts Project (WPA) commission that documented the vanishing architecture and landscapes of San Mateo County.

Galen Wolf’s paintings are in numerous public and private collections. He was a founding member of Thirty and One Artists and the Society of Western Artists. The book he wrote and illustrated, Legends of the Coastland, was  published in 2012 by Luna Moon Press.