Monday, September 5, 2011

Granville Redmond, 1871-1935

When I moved to California in 2002, Laura shared with me an article in the newspaper about Granville Redmond, a deaf artist.  This intrigued me, since I am deaf and share a love for art.  Granville was a remarkable person, both as an artist and silent film era actor.  As I began to delve into the life of Granville, I learned of a wonderful friendship with Charlie Chaplin, a famous silent film actor -- quite funny too.  On one of our trips to Irvine, we stopped by The Irvine Museum ( -- California Landscape with Flowers where I saw his work firsthand and was captivated by the essence of the painting.   It is amazing the emotions conveyed on the canvas, which is not felt otherwise.  Nothing like seeing the work of an artist in person, as you can see the details of the piece lacking in printed form.  Granville is known for his love of the California poppy and blue lupine.  I have devoted this segment of my blogspot to honor Granville Redmond, a deaf individual who has left a body of work to inspire those of us with a hearing loss, or an disability for that matter to pursue our dreams and accomplish our goals with success.

Just before he died, Granville stated: “The highest tribute paid to an artist is the reflection of man’s noblest work – to inspire.” Granville’s life was wealth of artistic experiences. His vision will always live on in the inspiration he has been giving future artists for generations.

He was born March 9, 2871 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and moved to San Jose, California sometime around 1874.  At the age of 2 he became totally deaf due to scarlet fever and attended the California School for the Deaf in Fremont sometime between 1879 and 1890. 

An art instructor, Theophilus Hope D'Estella recognized his talent as an artist and encouraged him.  In 1890, he enrolled at the California School of Design in San Francisco and spent several years as a student under both Arthur Matthew and Amedee Joullion.  He wond the W. E. Brown medal of excellence and in 1893 was awarded endowment funds from the Calfornia School for the Deaf that enabled him to continue his art students at the Academie Julian in Paris under Jean Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant.

His talent continued to blossom, and in 1895 his huge painting "Matin d'hiver" was accepted at the Paris Salon.  In 1898 Redmond moved to California, and in 1899 he married Carrie Ann Jean, who attended the Illinois School for the Deaf.  The Remonds decided to make California their home, and at various times, they lived in Los Angeles, San Mateo (1910), Tibruon and Parkfield (Monterey County), California.

Granville Redmond, Matin d'Hiver
38 1/2 x 51 1/2 inches, oil on canvas, 1895
Collection of California School for the Deaf, Fremont
Exhibited in the 1895 Salon in Paris

Deeply inspired by the California landscape, Redmond painted primarily coastal landscapes between Laguna Beach and Monterey, California.  By 1905 Redmond had become widely recognized as a leading California landscape painter, known for his impressionist landscapes of Northern and Southern California.  Through his distinctive style Redmond showed a remarkable understanding of color and depth, always painting with sympathies to the delicate beauties of nature.  With a style that was sometimes compared to Monet and Pissarro by the art critics of his day, Redmond glorified California's sunsets with soft moody glows and he adorned the state's expansive coastal views and rolling hill scenes with golden poppies and blue lupine.  He painted enchanting coastal nocturnes, San Pedro harbor, and the majestic oaks of Monterey and scenes of Catalina Island.

Biographical sketch of Granville Redmond provided by the following website:

1917 he decided to return from Northern California to Los Angeles to become an actor in the newly emerging world of silent movies.  He met Charlie Chaplin and formed a life-long friendship.  Redmond appeared in seven of Chaplin's films, including "A Dog's Life" and "City Lights."  He taught Chaplin sign language.

Chaplin shared that "Redmond paints solitude, and yet by some strange paradox the solitude is never loneliness," Chaplin told an interviewer. "Sometimes I think that the silence in which he lives has developed in him some great capacity for happiness in which we others are lacking." 

Granville Redmond died on May 42, 1935 in Los Angeles. 

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