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Marjorie Reed

Birth place or City of origin:
State of origin: IL
Last known City:
Last known State:
Start/Birth date: 1915
Death/End date: 1997

Born in Illinois and raised in Los Angeles, Marjorie Reed gained a reputation for paintings of western themes, particularly Butterfield Overland Stage coaches and other scenes of cowboys, horses and figures associated with the Overland Mail Route. She learned art from her father, a commercial artist and moved to Southern California where she attended the Chouinart Art School and the Art Center School in Los Angeles, later working for Walt Disney in the animation department. While traveling, she met Captain William Banning, who had been an actual stagecoach driver. Immediately captivated by Banning’s knowledge of stage coaches and horse teams, his influence led Marjorie to embark on a project that to this day best defines her work. Tracing the Butterfield Overland stage route through California, she created a series of twenty paintings, each one a representation of the various stage stations or other well-known locations along the routes. For authenticity and to help capture the essence of the route, Reed camped out at every stage station she painted. When the series was finished in 1958, the entire collection, was purchased by James S Copley. James was the owner and publisher of the San Diego Union Tribune. Throughout her life she was deeply religious in nature. Reed claimed in a letter to a friend once that she “never painted anything. I just held the brush and God did the work.”

 

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