Considered to be one of the finest practitioners of landscape painting produced in the American West, Marion Kavanagh Wachtel along with her equally talented husband Elmer, traveled extensively throughout Southern California where the two developed an intimate knowledge of the area said to be unmatched by any other artist.
Born into an artistic family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Marion Kavanagh's mother was an accomplished artist and her great grandfather a Royal Academician in London. She studied first with Vanderpoel at the Art Institute of Chicago and later with William Merit Chase in New York. Moving to California in 1903, she became a pupil of William Keith who introduced her to Southern California artist Elmer Wachtel whom she married in 1904.
Painting was always her consuming occupation. Her landscapes are remarkable for their breadth and simplicity and the fine uncomplicated sense of composition they reveal. In the 1920s she was uniquely honored with two one-artist shows at the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art.