A Chronology Photo Gallery Associates

Biographical Notes

Paul Whitman was born on April 23, 1897, in Denver, Colorado. His family moved from Denver to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was reared. After preparatory school in the East, he enrolled at Yale University, though his academic plans were interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. He was assigned to the U.S. Army, where he served in the European theatre as a lieutenant.

Taking up his civilian life again in 1921, and continuing his studies at Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri, he eventually married and established a successful career in the insurance industry. However, in the late 1920s, in fulfillment of his desire to pursue his interests in art, he moved with his wife, Anita Moll, and the first two of his three children—Colden and Ann—to the budding art community in Carmel, California, where he quickly gained notoriety for his oils, watercolors, lithographs, landscapes, and waterfront depictions. His third child, a son Paul, was born in Carmel. The family built a home on the fifteenth fairway of the famous golf course at Pebble Beach, with its inspiring landscapes and seascapes, which also served as a studio for Whitman.

At the height of his career, in 1950, Paul Whitman died of a heart attack at the age of 53. He was lauded at his death not only for his gifts as an artist of rare talents, but also for his immense contributions to the renowned community of artists in Carmel. Excerpts from his obituary in the Monterey Peninsula Herald attest to these contributions and to his faithful commitment to his family:

“[With] the sudden death of Paul Whitman on early Monday morning, Carmel suffered the loss of a true friend and a great leader. His work...has won wide recognition throughout the country. ...He was a member of the Carmel Art Association and served at one time as vice-president of that organization. He also served as [area] chief of civilian defense [during World War II]...[and]...head of the Peninsula Red Cross Blood Bank program.

“He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Anita Whitman; two sons, Paul, with the Navy at Hunter’s Point, and Colden Whitman of Carmel; a daughter, Mrs. George B. Chapman of Aurora, Ohio; a brother, Colden Whitman of Madera; two sisters, Mrs. William Field and Mrs. Stewart McCormick, both of St. Louis, Missouri; three grandchildren, Christopher, George and Geoffrey Chapman of Aurora [after his death, four other grandchildren, Mat­thew, Walter, Ann, and Scott, were born], a niece and three nephews.”

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Excerpts from a Letter of Tribute from the Carmel
Art Association on the Death of Paul Whitman

(December 1950)

In the death of the painter Paul Whitman, this community mourns the loss of a friend. He was a man of many parts but his chief talent was of the heart. With no ostentation, wholly unconscious of his endearing qualities, he went about among us, giving cheer, assurance and inspiration.

His versatility as an artist is evident in the things he made. He was a master of all the techniques. Nothing, furthermore, was for him of little consequence. The globe of the world, the tired delapidated barn, ducks coming to rest by the rushes, the design hidden in the cubes of plastic, the polished decoy, the walls of ancient wood given a new patina, stationery for acquaintances, illustrations for textbooks, stamps for the government, carvings in stone—whatever might be the material of the purpose, to all he gave the same patient, careful and competent consideration.

But his artistry reached far beyond his chosen profession. In wartime he applied himself, courageously, on the field of battle and later, in the protection of civilians and industries. In peace he has labored indefatigably to the awakening of our peninsula for the donation of blood for the health of us all. This service of peace has become a preparation for the need of the agony of war. Here among his professional colleagues and in this Association, which he helped to found and foster, he will always be remembered with affection and esteem and with all the increase he will be recalled with warmth and gratitude. It is the resolution of the Directors of the Carmel Art Association that these words of encomium shall be read to the members of the Association, inscribed in the minutes of the Board and given to the family. In that family circle is the center of bereavement, the pride of accomplishment and the power of the continuing inspiration of this beloved artist and friend.

Dr. Remsen Bird,

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