Arthur Earl Haddock Biography

Arthur Earl Haddock




Oil painter and watercolorist Arthur Earl Haddock was born near the town of Clements, California in 1895. Primarily self-taught, as a teenager he began drawing on his own and at age nineteen met the artist Maynard Dixon, who encouraged Haddock's interest in art and would go on to become his mentor. After high school Haddock found a job as a baggage handler for the Southern Pacific railroad; he would later go on to work for Western Pacific and then Santa Fe Railway, the latter of which he would remain with for nearly thirty years as a night clerk in order to paint en plein air during the day.

In 1921 Haddock briefly attended the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) but left in favor of private lessons with Dixon, and to set up his own studio in Stockton, southeast of San Francisco. He began exhibiting soon thereafter, holding his first solo exhibition at the Haggin Memorial Museum in 1931 and showing in New York at the MacBeth Gallery. A trip to New Mexico with his wife in 1929 remained a source of inspiration to Haddock, and in 1947 they moved to Santa Fe permanently.

Haddock supported himself and his wife as a framer while continuing to paint throughout the 1960s and '70s, and became an active member of the Taos Society of Artists. He was especially known for his plein air paintings in which he painted a view repeatedly, omitting or adding elements in each new composition. Notably, Haddock rarely put his work up for sale as he viewed it as being always in progress, sometimes revisiting paintings decades later to rework them. He was an intensely private person who frequently kept his artowrk out of the public eye, and upon his death on August 30, 1980, hundreds of paintings remained stacked throughout his small apartment. 

Notable exhibitions include: Philomatheon Club, Stockton (1929); Bay Region Art Association (1936); Haggin Gallery, Stockton (1927, '31, '40, '45, '46); MacBeth Gallery, New York (1942).