Edgar Dorsey Taylor Biography

Edgar Dorsey Taylor




Edgar Dorsey Taylor, painter, printmaker, mosaic muralist, and teacher, was born in Grass Valley, California on 15 July 1904 to Adelaide and Edgar M. Taylor. He worked in mines and sawmills to pay for his education and he earned his BA degree from the University of California Berkeley in 1928. After graduation, he worked for a year in the commercial art field before traveling to France, Italy, and Germany where he studied with Hans Hoffman.

Taylor returned to the San Francisco Bay Area in January 1930 and enrolled at the University of California Berkeley where he earned his MA degree in 1932. He was awarded the Tauffig Traveling Fellowship and traveled for a year, studying in Germany, Italy, Sicily, Greece, Crete, and the Anatolian peninsula. Upon returning in 1933, Taylor taught for one year at the University of California Berkeley. On 2 July 1934, he married Lois Chambers.

During the Depression, Taylor worked for the WPA California Federal Art Project. He designed a stained glass window for Herbert Hoover Middle School in Oakland which was completed 1938. Taylor also designed a stained glass map for the Pacific House at the Golden Gate International Exposition held at San Francisco’s Treasure Island in 1939. In 1940, he was among the group of twenty artists who produced lithographs for Contemporary Graphics, a series of original prints published by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Taylor moved to Texas and taught art at the University of Texas at Austin in 1942 and, after his move to Los Angeles in the early 1950s, he taught at the University of Southern California.

During his career, Taylor worked in oil, watercolor, lithography, conté crayon, mosaic, and stained glass until 1959 after which he concentrated entirely on woodcut. In 1969, the Plantin Press of Los Angeles published his book, Baja California Woodcuts. He also produced woodcuts to illustrate Richard E. Lingenfelter’s book Presses of the Pacific Islands, 1817-1867. A History of the First Half Century of Printing in the Pacific  Islands.

Taylor was a member of and exhibited with the San Francisco Art Association and the Texas Fine Arts Association. Solo exhibitions of his work were mounted at the Pasadena Museum, the Crocker Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, the University of Texas at Austin, the McNay Museum in San Antonio and the University of Maine.

Edgar Dorsey Taylor’s work is represented in the collections of the Briscoe Center for American History and the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin; the Crocker Museum, Sacramento; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California; the McNay, San Antonio, Texas; the Library of Congress, The National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Edgar Dorsey Taylor died in Los Angeles on March 28, 1978.