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Conrad Buff Self Portrait Older Midsized Thumbnail
Self Portrait

Born in Switzerland in 1886 and having spent his later teen years studying art in Munich, Conrad Buff came to the United States as a talented nineteen year old.

In his first year in America, he spent some time doing odd jobs, herding sheep in a Swiss speaking region of Wisconsin, cooking in cafes and bartending. As his English improved, he quickly made his way west.

Conrad Buff
1886 - 1975

At at age twenty-one, he arrived in Los Angeles and met some artists who turned into life long friends. Among these were Maynard Dixon, eleven years his senior, and Edgar Payne, three years older.

We later learned from Joshua Meador's widow, Libby Meador, that Conrad Buff was very helpful to the younger Meador after he arrived in Los Angeles in 1936. Mary and Conrad Buff became close friends with the Meadors thereafter.

Conrad Buff Younger Midsized Thumbnail
Self Portrait
Conrad Buff From a Cave Midsized Thumbnail
From a cave
Conrad Buff Mountain River Midsized Thumbnail
Mountain River
Conrad Buff Sunlit Face Midsized Thumbnail
Sunlit Face
Conrad Buff Self Portrait Midsized Thumbnail
Self Portrait
Conrad Buff Mary Buff Midsized Thumbnail
Portrait of Mary Buff

Regarding Edgar Payne here's an interesting story. Buff met Edgar Payne and worked for him in 1917. Payne was asked by the Congress Hotel in Chicago to provide murals for all eleven floors of their new hotel. To get the job done, he and his artist wife Elsie Payne hired other artists, Jack Wilkerson Smith, Peter Nielsen, and Grayson Sayer. They rented a warehouse in the town of Tropico (now Glendale) near Eagle Rock, California. In Eagle Rock, a young artist named Conrad Buff heard of the project and applied for an assistant's position at $3.50 per day. Buff would stretch the canvases. Payne would then sketch out the painting. Buff would paint the sky and clouds, Payne and Smith would paint the foreground, Neilsen painted garlands and garlands of flowers, and Sayer and Payne would finish the foreground. By the end of the job, Buff was making $5.00 a day, eleven hundred square yards of muslin were used, and ten thousand pounds of white lead paint.

By the age of forty, Conrad Buff had established himself as a notable artist of strikingly-constructed mountain and desert landscapes of the Southwest, with special attention given to minimal design elements. Today his paintings hang in the Los Angeles County Art Museum, the Oakland Museum, the San Diego Art Museum and others.
Sources: Libby Buff and George Stern, The Art and Life of Conrad Buff, 2005 conversation with Libby Meador, 2005; Askart

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