Know anything about mid-century California Impressionism?
May 17, 2010 10:34 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to find out more about this painting I inherited from my great grandfather. I think it was likely painted sometime in the 50s or 60s in Southern California.

My great grandpa was a fairly prolific amateur painter. He painted as a retiree in the early 60s in Southern California in a style I've always called "California Impressionism". My relative's paintings are mostly plein air land- and seascapes, but this portrait (?) was included in a bunch of paintings I inherited from my grandfather's estate. It's an oil on canvas and I think it was framed by my grandfather (the frame matches with a lot of his other paintings, which he is known to have self-framed). Here's a close-up of the signature, which I think reads "Verily" or maybe "Veriby".

Who painted this? If you don't know, how can I find out? What can you tell me about the style, etc.? Finally, I've always wanted to help establish my great-grandfather's paintings as "legitimate" art. Maybe my research into why he had this painting can help with that too?

posted by maniactown to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
There is a Verily Hammons lived/was active in California on Ask ART. Doesn't seem to be much information other than a how-to-draw Heads of People book and a mention in Falk's 'Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975' (which I have no access to, but which you might find at your library).
posted by unliteral at 11:22 PM on May 17, 2010

I think it is signed "Verily" and checked Davenport's for you. No listings. There are listings for "Verity" and some other variations. Send me an email if you would like a scanned image of the page.
posted by mlis at 11:24 PM on May 17, 2010

There is a listing for Verily Hammons in Davenport's. The information matches what unliteral found as well as valuation of $650 - $1050 for his/her paintings.
posted by mlis at 11:31 PM on May 17, 2010

Response by poster: Looks like Hammons sometimes goes by by just "Varily" according to this copyright listing, so that's promising. The artwork in the how-to book looks vaguely similar to boot.

I wonder if this Verily person might have taught a painting class in So. Cal. in the 60s?
posted by maniactown at 11:48 PM on May 17, 2010

Verily pops up as a juror in the California Art Club Gold Medal Exhibition 1977.
posted by unliteral at 12:14 AM on May 18, 2010

She died in 2006.
posted by Knappster at 12:42 AM on May 18, 2010

According to, she was born 1918 in Sapperton, B.C., studied at the Cornish Institute in Seattle, and lived in Northridge, California,
posted by Knappster at 12:50 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My mom, Verily Hammons, did this painting in the late 60's to early 70's. It is actually of me (her daughter). She lived and worked in the San Fernando Valley and exhibited all around the world. She passed away in July of 2006. Who was your g-grandfather?
posted by LMHallock at 1:02 PM on June 10, 2010 [98 favorites]

Wow! [metatalk]
posted by unliteral at 5:51 PM on June 10, 2010

Best answer: I have checked the catalog records of mom's work and believe this was done in 1970, when mom was doing live demonstrations with the West Valley Artist Association. The art association would feature different award winning local artists, mom did a few of these demonstrations during the early 1970's. I suspect your g-grandfather acquired the painting at that demonstration. Hope this helps shed some light on your inheritance!
posted by LMHallock at 9:23 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah, that "sheds some light" on it, all right! Awesome!
posted by maniactown at 2:11 PM on June 11, 2010

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