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John William Hilton (American, 1904-1983), "Quiet Afternoon", ca. 1970, oil on board, signed

John William Hilton (American, 1904-1983), "Quiet Afternoon", ca. 1970, oil on board, signed

Item Description:

Signed lower right, titled in black marker on reverse, with a map depicting the location of the scene affixed to the reverse, framed.

During a reception at the artist's home, the current owner's parents asked the artist to pinpoint the exact location where he painted this work, which the family later visited. A map of this location is affixed to the back of the painting.


Appears fine. Please contact for specific condition questions. Not examined out of the frame. Lofty does not guarantee the condition or authenticity of frames.


Purchased from Southwest Gallery in Palm Springs, California, ca. 1970s
Inherited by descent


Height 28 in. x Width 48 in. (sight)
Height 53.5 in. x Width 33.5 in. x Depth 2.5 in. (frame)

About The Artist:

John William Hilton was born in Carrington, North Dakota. His father was a missionary and brought their family to China, where they lived for six years, until the Sun Yat-Sen Revolution caused the family to flee China and return to North Dakota. Perhaps this early exposure to Chinese painting is manifested in the contemplative desert landscapes for which Hilton would later become famous.
Hilton worked a number of odd jobs in his hardscrabble formative years, including as a jewelry designer, singer, guitar player, and curio shop owner. The artist eventually gained financial success as a painter and illustrator after the 1930s. He was regularly commissioned to produce illustrations for the Los Angeles Times and Saturday Evening Post. Hilton also wrote and illustrated several books, including the Sonora Sketch Book (1947), and Hilton Paints the Desert (1964). Grand Central Galleries in New York City represented the artist, but his work was also regularly exhibited in California and Hawaii, where he kept a vacation home.

The luminous qualities of Hilton's landscapes were enhanced by the addition of a beeswax mixture to the paints, creating a finish similar to an encaustic, or wax, painting. He regularly went on desert sketching trips with his contemporaries, the Western artists Maynard Dixon, Nicolai Fechin, Jimmy Swinnerton, Orpha Klinker, and Clyde Forsythe.

Hilton loved the Sonoran Desert, which extends from southern California and southwestern Arizona south into Mexico. Many of his landscapes were painted in the Palm Springs, California region "en plein air", meaning they were painted from direct physical observation on a portable canvas set up in nature. According to some sources, the artist was a bit of an eccentric, and regularly hosted a New Year's Eve party where he would drink tequila and burn his unsatisfactory paintings, with the goal of stimulating creativity for the coming year.


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John William Hilton (American, 1904-1983), "Quiet Afternoon", ca. 1970, oil on board, signed

Listed price: $5,000.00

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