HAROLD "BUCK" WEAVER
Born in London on March 16th 1889
Died in Los Angeles on December 15th 1961
Harold was the eldest of ten
sons and two daughters born to Alfred Edward and Rosetta Hannah Weaver. His
childhood was spent in Clapham and whilst still a child ran away to France to
become a jockey, the which he didn't like - then ran away to sea while still in
his teens and served on Windjammers: finally ended up in California in the Gold
Worked as a Cowboy: a lost photograph depicts him wearing a pair of low slung six-guns with the holsters tied down, this apparently is the hallmark of a gun slinger. Also employed as a teamster, a Deputy Sheriff and eventually ended up as a champion steer and bronco-buster.
Sometime around 1920 Buck broke his pelvis after failing to break an animal in a competition and was in hospital for an extended period. As occupational therapy he started to paint.
Having come from a long line of artists (painter Weavers recorded way back to the end of the 17th century) he revealed a very considerable natural talent which matured under the tutorage of Maynard-Dixon, who became a life-long friend.
He quickly established himself as a West Coast artist who worked for extended periods in the High Sierras of the Arizona deserts and the area now known as the Painted Desert - he lived with the Hopi and the Navajo Indians, learning their lore and their languages - his studio was based in San Francisco but it was often untenanted: his mobile studio was a caravan!
In addition to painting, his contact with Edgar Payne at Laguna Beach provided him with the tools to make carved and gold leaf frames. Both Edgar and his wife, Elsie Palmer became friends and in addition Buck was employed as an Assistant, along with Conrad Buff to complete Edgar's mural commissions. One interesting story has recently come to light: in the late 1920s the Payne's visited Ogden in Utah, accepting an invite from the Ruthrauff's (Gallery Owners), and were joined by Buck. With his new purchase, a Model A Roadster, Buck accidentally shot himself in the leg on a trip to Southern Utah and the Payne's had to endure a 30 mile detour to the nearest Hospital.
He possessed what has been described as a phenomenal technique and was renowned for his spare, carefully chosen use of colour normally using only four or five different tubes of colour, seldom using one colour without small quantities of all the others mixed with it.
His canvases are recorded as being simple, truthful statements of his knowledge and vision of the Western landscape. His keen appreciation and portrayal of light, atmosphere and weather were said to be second to none while his sense of space and its reflection in composition and balance was almost uncanny - he worked painstakingly slowly and after weeks, even months, he completed "harmonies of design and colour in complete accord with the laws of nature".
Buck worked on the Santa Fe Railroad murals in the ticket office along with Edith Hamlin and Ray Stron under Maynard Dixon's guidance, the Golden Gates Exposition murals and the New York State World's Fair murals - some, even if not all, with Maynard Dixon. Harry James and his wife, Betty Grable were reputed to have bought a great many of his pictures, the collection being broken up on their deaths. (the fate of the pictures is not known to this author).
Desert Horses: This painting
was owned by Edward H. Bohlin, the famous saddlemaker and silversmith, Buck
Weaver was a friend and had owed Ed Bohlin some money for some silver work for
some time and traded him a painting for it. It is not known what was made and
the present owner, Bill Reynolds received the painting from Ed's daughter
Lillian before she died several years ago.
Jerry Talbott: came across the web site while doing research on his grandfather, O.T. (Theodore) Jackman: Buck Weaver were friends. I also have a couple of photographs of Buck sitting a horse and leading a pack horse. I am sure these snapshots were taken by my grandfather because there are other photos of him riding his horse in the same local, probably Laguna or Corona Del Mar Ca. These pictures may have been taken as an aid to paint from. Jackman was also a fine western artist as well as a magazine and book illustrator. My mother told him many times that Buck was a frame maker and good friend of her dad's.
Douglas Johns: Weaver was a patient
of Dr. Urabec and settled his account with works of art, an arrangement I hear
from good authority, that was amenable to both patient and physician.
Katherine Yarborough: Dear Mr. Jones, I stumbled upon your website for your great-uncle, Buck Weaver, by accident this afternoon. I was attempting to locate one of Buck's paintings that I never saw as a child but have always wanted to own. I was born in 1950 in Los Angeles and my parents owned apartment buildings, in which we also lived, on Bonnie Brae St. in downtown Los Angeles. From my earliest memories, Buck rented an apartment from my parents. I have several photos of myself at age 1 1/2 or 2 being with Buck pulling around in my Red Flyer wagon. There are also many other photos of Buck as well from the 50's. As I write you from my study in my current home in Del Mar, CA., there is a photo of Buck which you have on your web site framed on my wall. It is the one of him sitting, hat on lap in front of the wonderful painting of the moon and clouds over the desert mesa (that was the painting that I was searching for!). One of the other photos on your site, the one with him wearing the same hat sitting in front of the oil of the horses in the desert, I gave to my father who was a close friend of Buck. I also gave my father the painting of the horses shown in that photograph. I currently have only one of Buck's paintings. I do not know what it was entitled. It is an 18" by 22" oil of a two lane road going through the desert towards distant, shadowy mountains. The frame was also made by him. I treasure it. My picture and the one of the horses, that I was instructed to give to my father, came to me via Peggy "Charlotte" Bartz, who also rented an apartment from my parents. Peggy and Buck were lovers from before my birth until the time of his death. They lived in separate apartments but, in my memory, always ate dinner and vacationed together. Peggy moved to San Diego in the early 1980's sometime after my mother had sold the apartments and moved here herself. Peggy lived in San Diego until her own death a few years ago at the age of 97. She lived independently and was of sound mind until the end, dying peacefully in her sleep in her own apartment. I have so many memories of wonderful times with Buck and with Peggy in those early years in Los Angeles. They were definitely part of my extended family. My Dad was a Deputy Sheriff with Buck and was also friends with Maynard Dixon. He told many stories of the mural painting and the Deputy Sheriff parties that were held in the San Fernando Valley, back in the day! Buck was an exceptional man and it has always been amazing to me that his art work was not more widely recognized. It brought me great delight to discover your web site. Thank you for taking the time to assemble it for the rest of us to enjoy. I plan on sharing it with my Mom, next time she's over. She's almost 85 and still quite active, but not willing to learn to use a computer at this point in life, so she'll have to view it on mine.
Director, Edenhurst Gallery LA: Here are images of the two Weaver paintings.
They came to us from a family member of one of the founding families of Laguna
Beach (there is a street named after them). Their grandmother knew Edgar Payne,
Joseph Kleitsch and Harold Weaver, who came to Laguna with Payne to paint and
carve frames. The one with the Indian girl looking through the pueblo window is
signed "Harold Weaver" and dated 1917 lower left. The view of the pueblo is
initialed "HW" lower right and is not dated. They are both oil on panel, the
girl being oil on a prestretched panel and the pueblo on a cardboard panel, not
A Private Collector in the USA re Pueblo Scene Painting: The painting is 9" high by 6" wide. It appears to be oil on canvas paper (and the canvas paper has been glued to a board. The glue has gone dark and a partial finger print can be seen). The overall painting including frame is 12 3/4" by 9 3/4". Judging by your website information, it looks like it was painted in 1918, in Laguna Beach, California. The attached close-up images show some damage to the sky area, something must have scraped a bit of the blue sky paint off. What I think happen, is that Buck put the frame on the painting before the gold paint of the frame was completely dry and set, as the painting looks like it may have slipped down a fraction of an inch, and there is gold paint from the frame around the top and side edges of the painting. I found this painting in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It came from some Estate and landed in a local Thrift Store. I've returned it to Southern California. I absolutely love it. I am an artist too, and appreciate the history behind the artist. Thank you for having this website.
Colin Weaver: Hi It was a pleasure to find your site. Harold Buck was my uncle, my dad was Cyril Alfred the youngest of the family, he often told us about uncle buck who ran away and lived with the Indians in America, did you know that Buck was christened Harold Pyfinch Weaver (after a family benefactor) I think I got the spelling correct, he changed his name by deed pole, wouldn't you? Best Regards and Thank you.
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