Rowena Meeks F. Abdy Biography

Rowena Meeks F. Abdy




Rowena Fischer Meeks Abdy (American: 1887 – 1945)

Born in Vienna, Austria of wealthy American parents on April 24, 1887. During the 1890s she came to San Francisco and as a teenager began art instruction at the Mark Hopkins Institute under Arthur Mathews. In 1910 she married writer Harry B. Abdy and bought a home in Monterey where she further studied with Armin Hansen. From there she built a mission-style home in San Juan Bautista. In 1917 Mrs. Abdy moved to San Diego and by 1926 had returned to San Francisco to a home on crooked Lombard Street where she remained.

Traveling about California in her large car that she had converted into a studio, she could sketch in comfort and privacy. After 1929 her work became more modern. Working in oil, watercolor and charcoal, Abdy depicted scenes of missions, mining camps, and early California during the Spanish rule. She died in San Francisco on Aug. 18, 1945 of alcoholism.

Member: SFAA; Carmel AA; Club Beaux Arts (SF); Sketch Club (SF); AFA. Exh: Sketch Club, 1908; Del Monte Art Gallery, 1908-12; SFMA, 1920 (silver medal); Southwest Museum (LA), 1921 (1st prize); Calif. WC Society, 1922-35; Calif. State Fair, 1923 (prize); PAFA, 1924; Arizona State Fair, 1925, 1930 (1st prizes); CPLH, 1932 (solo); GGIE, 1939. In: Nevada Museum (Reno); Commercial Club (SF); Mills College, (Oakland); CPLH; Seattle Museum. Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940" American Art Annual 1919-33; Who's Who in California 1928; Who's Who in American Art 1936-41; California Art Research, 20 volumes; Artists of the American West (Samuels); Oakland Tribune, 8-19-1945 (obituary).