Louis Bassi Siegriest

Theme/Style – Modernism, Impressionism, Abstraction, landscapes, illustration

Media – Oils, watercolors, gouache, casein

Artistic Focus – A fine painter as well as a commercial artist, whose styles ranged from Impressionism to Modernism to mixed-media abstracts, Louis Siegriest had a long, distinguished career including association in the 1920s with the lively group of Bay Area colorists known as The Society of Six, who rebelled against the prevalent somber tonalism of the period.

Career Highlights –

• Louis Siegriest was born in Oakland in 1899. By age 16 he was attending the School of the Guild of California Arts and Crafts in Berkeley and had met Selden Connor Gile who - along with Siegriest, Bernard von Eichman, August Gay, Maurice Logan, and William Clapp - would comprise The Society of Six.
• In 1916 Siegriest transferred to the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and by the 1920s was a working artist, first in San Francisco and Seattle, and then in the Midwest - all the while maintaining close ties to the Bay Area including his frequent exhibitions at the Oakland Art Gallery, which spanned the next fifty years.
• Siegriest returned to Oakland during the early 1930s, working for the San Francisco Chronicle and later worked as a WPA artist.
• After the Great Depression, Siegriest began incorporating darker colors and more abstract images into his work, and in the 1940s and 1950s he painted Virginia City, Nevada, landscapes using the area's natural gypsum mixed with dry glue and pigment.
• The last surviving member of "The Six," he served as a living link to David Park, Elmer Bischoff, and others in the next generation of Bay Area expressive colorists.
• Siegriest lived his entire life in the Oakland mansion where he was born, later raising his own children there including a son, Lundy, who became a well-known artist in his own right. Louis Siegriest passed away in Berkeley in 1989, at the age of 90.