Posing in his studio in Mill Valley, California, c. 1928.
Tilden Daken (also known as Tilden Dakin; see Signature Styles) was a California Impressionist active during the first three decades of the 20th century. He painted scenes from the highest peaks to the depths of the Pacific Ocean, mostly en plein air, directly from nature to capture the atmospheric light of the day–the grandeur of the High Sierra, the splendor of the California redwoods, the rolling hills of Marin and Sonoma counties, and the Channel Islands and Southern California. He also painted in Alaska, Oregon, Mexico, Baja California, Hawaii and the East Coast, and captured imaginations with his underwater scenes painted while submerged beneath the sea in a custom-built diving bell. Mostly self-taught, he was a prolific artist, with more than 4000 paintings to his credit. His works are held by at least seven museums, he is referenced in more than two-dozen books, and he was captured on film by at least three Hollywood directors.
Tilden Daken painting in a field near Bootjack, CA in 1931. Admirers are his wife Florence (right) and her sister Cora.
Northern California Garden Scene
In the Valley of the Moon, Mount Sonoma in Distance
On the Trail to Big Lagoon, Mount Tamalpais
Red Sky at Night
On the Bank of a River, Sonoma County
A Life of Legend
Art historians say that no plein air artist went to greater extremes to capture the rugged wilderness of the West on canvas.
He painted in more than two dozen national and state preserves in the West, including the Tahoe National Forest, Yosemite National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park, and was known as the “Official Painter of the National Parks of the United States.”
Among his friends were noted personalities the likes of writer Jack London, the legendary bandito Pancho Villa, and vaudeville star Sophie Tucker.
He published autobiographical short stories describing some of his most celebrated adventures in: “Experiences in the Rugged West” and “In the Grip of an Octopus.”