Tilden Daken–Artist and Adventurer
A California Impressionist active during the first three decades of the 20th century, Daken’s story begins and ends in California’s Mother Lode. A legend in his time, he packed more into his 58 years than most people could muster in nine lives. His deeply rooted passion for art, nature, color and music began when he was a child and remained until his last dying breath. His landscapes en plein air speak volumes about his zeal for adventure and his unyielding ambition.
He is renowned for his remarkable painting expeditions, from the ruggedness of the High Sierra—Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Kings Canyon and beyond—to the depths of the Pacific Ocean in a diving bell. He taught art classes throughout much of his life and wrote autobiographical short stories chronicling some of his most celebrated adventures. See His Short Stories
This news article, written 75 years ago, hits some of the highlights of his life:
Few men have had such varied experiences as Tilden Dakin. Whether he was braving the Mexican war between Villa and Carranza, where he was wounded three times and once held prisoner for eight weeks, or “dancing around like a crazy man” to keep from freezing to death while painting the Piute Pass in midwinter; facing the unknown terrors of the ocean depths to secure true submarine views; tempting the headhunters of New Guinea or riding the brake beams with his friend Jack London—always he thought of his art and sought to put true pictures of the world around him on canvas. That he has succeeded is evidenced by the fact that his pictures may be found in Italy, Norway, Holland, Japan and Great Britain, as well as in all parts of our own country. And everywhere they have met with acclaim.
“Tilden Dakin to Make Music Key Paintings,” Berkeley Daily Gazette, October 6, 1927.