Grace Hudson1865 - 1937
Born: 1865, Ukiah, CA
Grace Hudson was born, lived most of her life and died near Ukiah, California. The daughter of a newspaperman and photographer, she became interested in Native Americans as a young girl. Her family was among the only white settlers in this valley so she early developed a concern and sympathy for the local impoverished Pomo Indians.
At age 14, Hudson began studying at the School of Design with Virgil Williams and at the San Francisco Art Institute with Raymond Yelland. From Williams she learned classical techniques of drawing and modeling from plaster casts. The landscape class with Yelland was distinctive because it was at the only art school in the country where pupils went into the outdoors directly to paint with their teachers.
In 1890, Grace married John Hudson, a doctor who gave up his medical career to work as an ethnologist of the Pomo Indians. Her husband's career change was to have a profound influence on Hudson's own art career. In 1893, Hudson exhibited a painting of a crying Indian baby called "Little Mendocino" at the World Columbian Exposition. The work won enormous critical acclaim and convinced the artist to focus all her efforts on painting the Pomoan Indians.
Hudson gained fame for specializing in painting Native Americans, in particular children and was a frequent contributing artist and illustrator for Sunset, Cosmopolitan, and Western Field. Despite her success in some circles, in her own time, Hudson's art was criticized for its subject matter, considered by some as "unworthy." The great irony is that it is now considered by some as "too sentimental." The Pomo Indians who lived in the area, and who she painted so skillfully, did befriend her and called her "Painter Lady."
In the NMWA painting Boy with Fox, Hudson depicts the poignant relationship between the Pomoan culture and surrounding nature, which Hudson pursued throughout her career.