Edgar Alwin Payne American impressionist painter grew up in Missouri, but spent the most productive part of his career captivated by the majestic scenery of the West. Primarily self taught, he did study briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago and began his career designing and painting scenery for the stage and murals for homes and theaters. Crisscrossing the United States, Mexico, Canada and Europe, the American West appealed most.
Lured by the quality of light and freedom to paint open spaces and possessing a reverence for nature, he especially loved the mountains and frequently took packhorses into the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to paint and sketch the upper lakes. Recognized as one of California’s leading landscape artists, Payne earned the respect of his peers and critics for his Impressionistic landscapes painted in plein-air. His works are in the permanent collections of the Laguna Art Museum, Chicago Art Museum, Southwest Museum of Los Angeles, Pasadena Art Institute, and the National Academy of Design.
At the age of fourteen, Edgar Payne left his childhood home of Washburn, Missouri, to travel the United States and Mexico. Payne survived by performing odd jobs including painting signs, stage sets, and houses. Payne, who had a fifth grade education, considered himself to be primarily self-taught.
However, he received art training at the Payne-Morris Studio in Dallas, Texas, and at the Art Institute of Chicago, eventually becoming one of the primary plein-air landscape painters in the early 20th century. Beginning in 1910, Payne found employment painting murals in civic buildings, courthouses, and theatres throughout the Midwest.
He married fellow artist, Elsie Palmer, in 1912, and in 1915 Payne moved with his family to Santa Barbara, California where he began to focus more of his time on easel painting. Payne relocated to Laguna Beach, California, in 1919 where he became the founding president of the Laguna Beach Art Association, which is presently known as the Laguna Beach Art Museum.
Edgar Alwin Payne (1 March 1883 – 8 April 1947) was an American Western landscape painter and muralist.