Millard Owen Sheets Biography

Millard Owen Sheets




Millard Owen Sheets (1907-1989), painter, printmaker, muralist, teacher, world traveler, and collector, was born on June 17, 1907, in Pomona, California. His maternal grandparents and his aunts raised him after the tragic death of his mother during childbirth. His grandfather, Lewis Owen, bred and raced horses and instilled in his grandson a passion for the animal. After graduating from Pomona High School, Sheets studied at the Chouinard Art Institute between 1925 and 1929 where he was a pupil of Frank Tolles Chamberlin and Clarence Hinkle. Sheets taught at Chouinard between 1928 and 1935 and, in 1931 he was appointed Professor of Art at Scripps College. The following year he became Head of the Art Department at Scripps and served in the capacity until 1955 when he became the Director of the Otis Art Institute.

Sheets was the director of exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Fair from 1931 to 1959. He served as a war artist for Life magazine, covering the Burma-India front from 1943 to 1944. Upon his return to California, he executed mosaic murals throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Sheets created the architectural design for many buildings, produced illustrations for national magazines, and handled production design for Columbia Pictures. Sheets saw his work as a synthesis of Cubism and Impressionism. He traveled throughout Europe, Central America, Mexico, the United States, the Pacific and the Orient, but continued to live permanently at his estate, Barking Rocks, along the northern California coast in Gualala.

He was a member of the Laguna Beach Art Association, National Academy, California Watercolor Society, California Art Club, Society of Motion Picture Art Directors, and the Bohemian Club. His work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Institute, Cleveland Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art and the Witte Museum.

Millard Owen Sheets died on March 31, 1989.