Painting on the rocky coastline at Lands End, San Francisco, 1915.

The Legacy Project

Tilden Daken’s Granddaughter is Preserving His Legacy

The artist’s incomparable life and substantial oeuvre is being brought to the forefront by Bonnie Portnoy, the granddaughter he never knew. She has unearthed a treasure trove of stories about his artistic career and far-flung adventures. “The actual is more astounding than the imaginary,” Tilden once told a journalist, and this can be said of his life.

A Book is in the Works

Bonnie has written his biography and is seeking publication. The account is based on hundreds of newspaper articles, letters he wrote to public figures, autobiographical short stories he penned, and family lore. His story reveals his unrivaled adventures, his personal and financial struggles, and the many notable people with whom he mingled—politicians, activists, Hollywood celebrities, naturalists, writers, journalists, and other California Impressionists.  Set in the cultural and historical context of his time – California at the turn of the 20th century – his story captures the many intriguing, little-known sides of the artist and the extreme conditions he endured to capture his scenes on canvas.

Bonnie Portnoy

A native Californian born in Marin County, Bonnie held senior management positions in merchandising, marketing, and operations for four San Francisco Bay Area-based specialty retail companies, and traveled extensively in Europe and Asia. As art historian for her grandfather, she has established the Tilden Daken Legacy Project, leading her to art historians, authors, museum curators, galleries, auction houses, and the many passionate collectors who have joined in her mission to secure his place in history. Bonnie speaks about Tilden Daken at public and private venues and welcomes your questions.


Bonnie wants to hear from Tilden Daken collectors!

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January 2023:

"The Art and Life of Tilden Daken and His Friendship with Jack London; presented by the artist's granddaughter, Bonnie Portnoy"

At the Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, California, in the House of Happy Walls museum.

October 2019:

"Adventurous Artist, Tilden Daken, to Be Subject of SCC Talk," Bonnie Portnoy presents, Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

"The Man Beneath the Paint: Tilden Daken," Bonnie Portnoy presents, Marin Civic Center, San Rafael.

August 2019:

Bonnie Portnoy speaks at Novato History Guild in Novato, CA, Novato City Hall.

April 2019:

"California Impressionist and Adventurer's Legacy Kept Alive"    Marin Independent Journal interviews Tilden Daken's granddaughter.

"Tilden Daken--The Mill Valley Years"    Bonnie Portnoy, First Wednesday Speaker Series, Mill Valley Historical Society.

January 2016:

"Sonoma's Depot Park Museum takes visitors back in time." Santa Rosa Press Democrat reporter, Dianne Reber Hart, writes about “A Brush with the Past,” an exhibition of works by Sonoma County artists including Tilden Daken. Bonnie Portnoy lectures at the museum about his life and art.

"Sylvia Crawford shares the latest news from Glen Ellen."  Sonoma Index-Tribune, “A Brush with the Past.” Crawford writes: "Among the artful offerings in that show is Tilden Dakin’s beautiful view of Sonoma Creek in Glen Ellen. Long one of my favorite historical paintings, I bet posters of that piece would sell wildly in our town."

"A Brush with the Past at Sonoma's Depot Museum."  Sonoma Valley Sun, a review of Tilden Daken's life and his works exhibited in "A Brush with the Past."

May 2014: 

Glen Ellen Historical Society  Tilden Daken Glen Ellen painting chosen as its Facebook avatar.

September 2013: 

A retrospective on Tilden Daken in "Lines and Colors." Charley Parker,  plein air painter, webcomics artist, cartoonist, illustrator blogs about Tilden Daken.

February 2013:

"Safe Haven for Painter Daken."  Sonoma County Historical Society newsletter, Sonoma Historian, article by Bonnie Portnoy.

December 2012: 

"How Author London, Artist Daken Met."   Sonoma County Historical Society newsletter, Sonoma Historian, article by Bonnie Portnoy.

July 2012:

Save the Redwoods League displays Tilden Daken's "Stroll Through the Redwoods" as their Facebook cover photo. reporter Sylvia Crawford reports on Glen Ellen Historical Society meeting and slide show of Tilden Daken paintings.