Margaret Bruton

Theme/Style – Modernism, landscapes, portraits

Media – Oils, murals, watercolors, gouache, mosaic murals, etchings

Artistic Focus –The most reserved and sensitive of the three Bruton sisters, Margaret Bruton's work demonstrates a clean, solid approach, yet one that is expressive as well. She used colors and tones confidently, creating paintings that were evocative and yet free of sentimentality; and her works exhibited an arrangement of planes, lines and colors that seemed to occur naturally.  Although a Modernist, Margaret found a stylistic middle ground between traditional and modern treatment of subject matter, creating works that were both critically and popularly acclaimed. 

Career Highlights –

• Margaret Bruton’s talent as an artist was noticed early in her life, when she received a prize for her work at age 12.  She began formal art studies at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art (later the San Francisco Art Institute) in 1913, where she studied with Frank Van Sloun.
• A scholarship enabled Bruton to travel to New York City, where she studied for four years at the Art Students League under Frank Vincent DuMond and Robert Henri.
• In the mid-1920s Bruton studied with Armin Hansen in Monterey; her entire family moved there in 1924.
• In 1925, Bruton spent a year studying at Paris’s Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, along with her sisters Esther and Helen.
• Traveling across America and through Europe with her sisters, Margaret Bruton focused most of her artistic effort on paintings. Her portraits, figures and genre works won many prizes and medals.
• Among Bruton’s best-known works are paintings of Pueblo Indians created during her trip to Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1929; and her ghost town paintings, produced as a result of her travel through Nevada in 1933.
• With her sisters, Margaret Bruton also created a particularly ambitious mural, Peace Makers, for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.
• Margaret remained active in San Francisco art circles until her demise in 1983.