Dan Sayre Groesbeck Biography

Dan Sayre Groesbeck




Dan Sayre Groesbeck, painter, printmaker, muralist, and illustrator, was a native Californian having been born at sea just outside of San Francisco on September 9,1878. His family first resided in Saint Helena, California before moving to Pasadena with their three year-old son.

Groesbeck had his first formal training at the Throop Polytechnic Institute in Pasadena and he studied illustration at the California School of Design in San Francisco. He began his career as a commercial artist in 1900 when he opened his advertising firm, Groesbeck and Fisher, in Los Angeles. He also worked as a police reporter and illustrator for the Los Angeles Morning Herald. His illustrative work was included in magazines such as Harper's, Scribner's Monthly, The Century, Success Magazine, American Sun Monthly Magazine, and Liberty Magazine.

Between the years 1913 and 1917, he was living in Chicago working for the Illinois Lithographing Company designing posters for film companies. From 1918 to 1919, Groesbeck joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force 85th Battalion and served in Siberia.

After his discharge, Groesbeck returned to Los Angeles where he was very active in the 1920s with exhibitions of his work at the Stendahl Galleries, the Biltmore Salon, the Friday Morning Club, the Franklin Art Galleries, and the Hollywood Print Rooms. He moved to Santa Barbara in 1924 and was one of the founders of the Santa Barbara Art League. He was commissioned to paint a mural depicting the landing of Cabrillo for the newly completed Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Shortly after completing that commission he was hired to paint two murals at the lavish Hotel Del Monte in Monterey.

In 1926, Groesbeck was working in San Francisco for the advertising firm, Foster and Kleiser, but that same year he was hired by Cecil B. DeMille to design costumes and make character sketches for the film, The Volga Boatman. During the 1930s and 1940s, Groesbeck seems to have worked for all the major film companies creating backdrops, sets, scenes, and promotional illustrations for theatre lobbies.

The works of Dan Sayre Groesbeck are represented in the collections of the Mills College Art Museum, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and Brigham Young University

Dan Sayre Groesbeck died in Los Angeles on August 29, 1950.