Esther Bruton Biography

Esther Bruton




Esther Bruton is best known as a skilled muralist, and for her ability to work with wood and paint. Born in Alameda, California in 1896, she was raised there with her two sisters Margaret and Helen who were also artists. After attending a local public high school Esther joined her older sister Margaret in New York City. From 1917 to 1918 she studied under George Bridgeman at the Art Students League in New York. She studied commercial art at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. After her studies she took a position as an advertising illustrator at Lord and Taylor department store in New York.

Esther then returned to her family home in Alameda, California where she worked for the I. Magnin department store as a fashion illustrator. She maintained her position there over the next seven years while also traveling periodically with her family. In 1924 she spent four months in Tahiti where she lived with a friend in a grass-hut. She traveled again in 1925 taking a trip to Europe with her sisters. The three of them took classes in Paris at the Studio de la Grande Chaumiere. Esther gave up her job as a commercial artist in 1929 to concentrate on her Fine Art. She took another trip with her family to Taos, New Mexico to sketch the Pueblo. When the family returned, Esther and her sisters gave a joint exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery in San Francisco in 1929. During the 1930s she continued to show her work within California where she gained critical praise and earned awards.

All of the sisters had unique talents and Esthers was her ability to work with wood and paint. She made painted screens and was a skilled muralist. One of her commissions included the circus-theme murals in the cocktail lounge at the Fairmount Hotel in San Francisco. Esther was selected chairman of the jury for the fifty-seventh Annual Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1937. She remained an active member of the California Society of Etchers and also the San Francisco Art Association in her later years.