Monterey history photo collection

California Views:
The Pat Hathaway Photo Collection

Pat Hathaway, Photo Archivist


Rowena Meeks Abdy, Early California Artist

(April 24, 1887-August 18, 1945)

Rowena Fischer Meeks Abdy (1887-1945) she was born in Vienna, Austria to American parents she was the daughter of John Meeks (1840-1891), a retired wealthy American business man originally from New York and Anna Fischer Meeks (1860-1898). When she was 11 years old the family moved to San Francisco. Her early education was at St. Margaret's School for Girls, San Mateo, Calif. She was an American painter who flourished in Northern California in the early 20th century. Working in oil, watercolor and charcoal, she achieved prominence in the plein air painting school and her works are held in several permanent collections of significant museums. And exhibition at the art gallery at the Hotel Del Monte, Monterey, San Francisco Sketch Club, Carmel Art Association, San Francisco Art Association and a number of others.
She had significant interactions with other famous California artists such as Arthur Frank Mathews and Armin Hansen:. She proved motivated as a young girl and enrolled in the Mark Hopkins Art Institute in her early teens. There she studied under Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945).
In 1910 she was living with her step-mother Helean Chambrain at 2996 Jackson St. San Francisco.
She married writer Harry Bennett Abdy (1868-1963) on October 9, 1910 in Monterey, California he was born in Yorkshire, England the couple built two home's in Monterey the first on El Dorado shortly after their marriage and home/studio "Forest Haven" around 1912 on El Camino in the Pines above the thriving art colony of Monterey.
Late in 1915 the couple took a trip east and traveled with friend and fellow artist Armin Hansen on a riverboat up the Ohio River and in 1919 Harry Bennett Abdy published a book with illustrations by his wife On The Ohio published by Dodd, Mead and Company.
In Monterey where she studied with her close friend from art school Armin Hansen (1886-1957).
While in Monterey she enjoyed painting scenes of wharves and fisheries activity and old adobes as did her contemporary painters
Lillie May Nicolson (1884-1962), E. Charlton Fortune (1885-1969) and Lester Boronda (1886-1953).
In September of 1917 they sold "Forest Haven" and moved to San Diego ware she rented an apartment over looking the bay with stately Point Loma, where her fondness for Spanish architecture.
Traveling around California in a large sedan that she had converted into a studio, she could sketch in comfort and privacy she traveled from Death Valley to Yosemite Valley.

She had a studio at 728 Montgomery Street, San Francisco in the early 1920's. By 1921 they bought a home at 1050 Lombard Street, on Russian Hill in San Francisco. She and Harry made a trip on the S.S. Roma to Italy in June of 1927.
They were divorced in late 1927 and he was living in Los Angeles in the 1930's and died in Pinellas, Florida in 1963.
In 1924 only 400 copies of Old California with ten color reproductions of original watercolors by Rowena Abdy was published by John Henry Nash (1871-1947) of San Francisco and with a foreword by Gottardo Piazzoni.
In June of 1929 she traveld by passenger ship to Italy.
In the spring of 1934 she exhibited her works at the Valdespino Gallery, San Francisco, in 1936 at the Delphic Galleries, New York City.
On June 25Th. of 1937 she made a trip to New York on the S.S. Santa Rosa arriving in New York on July 14 and then on to Italy returning on the passenger ship Rex from Genoa, Italy arriving back in New York city on Sept. 23rd of 1937.
She remained in San Francisco until her death on August 18Th. of 1945.

Subject in the collection are Old Monterey Adobes, The Robert Louis Stevenson House, Old Washington Hotel, Old Monterey Cemetery, Monterey Fisherman's Wharf Carmel Mission, Point Lobos, Jolon, Castro Adobe, San Juan, San Juan Bautista Mission, Lake Tahoe, Santa Barbara Mission, other California Missions, San Diego, 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, Belvedere, Bolinas, Sausalito, Marin County and the San Francisco Bay area.

Some print of Watercolor Paintings from Old California: Being Ten Reproductions of Original Watercolors Painted by Rowena Meeks Abdy
California Mission
Oil Painting by Rowena Fischer Meeks Abdy
Arched doorway Mission San Juan Capistranio
Size 14x17
Circa 1911
from a private collection in Pacific Grove
California Mission
Arched doorway
Mission San Juan Capistranio,
Old California with ten color reproductions of original watercolors
Circa 1911
Her home and studio Forest Haven
in Monterey
Photo by H.B. Abdy
3x5.5 film negative.
Circa 1912
Photo Accession
CV # 2012-018-000
American Federation of Fine Arts
California Watercolor Society
Carmel Arts and Craft Club 1910
Carmel Art Association 1927
Salons of America, New York
San Francisco Art Association
Sketch Club, San Francisco
Society of Independent Artists

Patron: Albert M. Bender (1866 - 1941)

Oakland Tribune, (Obituary) 8/19/1945

Photo Accession
CV # 2012-018-0001-
about 570 +/- film negatives 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch postcard size exposures on #122 roll film.
Kodak Folding Pocket Camera, producing 8 exposures per roll.

New Book just off the press 12/15/14
Artists Honeymoon: At Work & Play in Monterey & Beyond, 1910-1920 (4 parts, 140 pages, 160 photo in Sepia and full color) This unique window onto the history of Monterey and environs features 150 century- old photographs. Never before published, they have been selected from a recently rediscovered trove of 570 negatives now in the Hathaway archives, and supplemented with associated paintings and period maps.
Text by Julianne Burton-Carvajal with images by the Abdy's from the Pat Hathaway Photo Collection.

$ 34.95 + tax [$ 37.57] and $ 5.75 priority mail
make check out to California Views,

Thank you.

Some Exhibitions
Sketch Club, San Francisco 1908, 1909.1910 & 1912
Hotel Del Monte Gallery, Monterey 1911
PPIE San Francisco 1915
Golden Gate Park Museum 1916
San Francisco Art Association 1916
R.L. Stevinson House, Monterey 1918
Helgesen Galleries, San Francisco 1919
California State Fair, Sacramento 1922
California Water Color Society of Los Angeles 1923
Arizona State Fair 1925
Art Institute of Chicago 1925
California Watercolor Society
Club Beaux Arts, San Francisco 1926
Carmel Art Association 1927
Claremont Gallery, Berkeley 1929
Courvoisier Gallery, San Francisco, March 1931
Valdespino Gallery, San Francisco 1934
Delphic Galleries, New York City 1936
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
Salons of America, New York
Society of Independent Artists, New York
Rowena M. Abdy Plein Air sketching
with a friend on a Monterey Beach
Photo by H.B. and R.M. Abdy
3x5.5 film neg.
Circa 1912
Photo Accession
CV # 2012-018-0001 / 50?

Holdings: over 27,977 of Monterey County listed in our database.
And over 81,955 historical California images in our Photo Archives.
Historical Photos of Carmel 1880-1929 and California Beach Scenes and early Bohemian Grove and early California Artist
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This page was last updated on October 1, 2019
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