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Marion Randall Parsons

Theme/Style – Modernism, landscapes, figurative art, illustration

Media – Oils

Artistic Focus – The many outdoor activities of Marion Parsons, and her love of the wilderness as well as historic California houses, informed her work as an artist. Her paintings of homes, cemeteries and the occasional surreal scene make her contribution to California Modernism unique, both in terms of subject matter and composition.

Career Highlights –

• Born Marion Randall in San Francisco, Marion's family moved across the Bay to Piedmont when she was a child.
• On a climb up Mt. Whitney, she met Edward Parsons, whom she married in 1907.
• Widowed by 1918, Marion Parsons worked in France for the Red Cross, and was awarded the Medaille de la Reconnaissance Française for her work in resettlement organizations in the Ardennes. She went on to write magazine and newspaper articles and in 1923 she published a novel, The Daughter of the Dawn.
• Always an avid mountain climber, Parsons scaled over fifty major peaks in North America and served as director of the Sierra Club for 22 years, from 1914 until 1936.
• After illustrating her writings with sketches and photographs for years, Parsons took up painting in the 1930s, exhibiting at the Oakland Art Gallery in 1932 and with San Francisco Women Artists from 1941 through 1948.
• Her interest in historic homes is seen in her paintings and also her 1952 book Old California Houses: Portraits & Stories.
• A lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Marion Parsons passed away in Berkeley in 1953.