About Otto Classen
Otto Classen was Born in Dresden, Germany, in 1868. Classen studied in Europe during the height of Impressionism. In 1898, he emigrated to Southern California and settled in Santa Monica, bringing his impressionistic style and "plein air" painting to the western landscape.
The above painting is an untitled landscape in an hand tooled gold arts and crafts frame is a collector's dream. An example of Classen's mature work, the artist reveals the western landscape through the masterful application of impressionist brushwork. Classen depicts a shimmering stream running through a wooded California oasis. This painting was offered for purchase at $7,950.00 and was sold.
The gallery shown below is seeking more examples of this wonderful artist's works. Please contact them if you are in possession of an Otto Classen.
THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS FROM THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE: http://southartsgallery.com/ottaclassen.aspx
Following is some information from public records that I found about my Great Uncle Otto Classen and his wife my Great Aunt Elsie Eubank Classen:
An Artist Biography for Otto Classen (1868-1939) reads as follows: "Otto A. Classen was born in Dresden, Germany on June 25, 1868. He moved to Los Angeles in 1898 and worked as a freelance artist. He was active in southern California until his death in Santa Monica on April 14, 1939. His rare works include portraits, landscapes, and desert scenes. Exhibited: Bay Women's Club (Santa Monica), 1937".
In the 1900 U.S. Census, Elsie Laura Eubank Classen is living with her husband, Otto A. Classen, at 1340 Staunton Avenue in Los Angeles, California. Elsie is 24 years old, Otto is 32 years old, and they have been married for 2 years. The record indicates Otton was born in Germany, as were both of his parents, and Elsie was born in Missouri and her parents in Kentucky and Ohio. (Her father was really born in Tennessee, not Kentucky.) The record further states that Otto came to the United States in 1895, and had been naturalized 5 years earlier. His profession is listed as Fresco Artist. They own their own home, but there is a mortgage on the property. In this census record, it states Otto was born in June of 1867 not 1868 as other records state.
In the 1910 U.S. Census, Elsie Laura Eubank Classen is living with her husband, Otto, and her mother in the Cahuenga part of Hollywood Precinct No. 2, at 415 North Highland Avenue. Otto is 41 years old, Elsie is 35 and her mother is 68, and is a widow, her husband, James Joseph having died in June 4, 1907, at the Old Soldier's Home in West Los Angeles, and was buried in the National Cemetery for Veteran's in West Los Angeles. In this census recrod, Otto said he was born in Nevada, and so were his parents, but we know he was born in Germany. He is listed as a House Decorator. He may have lied about being from Nevada instead of Germany due to unfavorable impressions of Germans in this country at the time.
In the 1920 U.S. Census, Elsie, age 46, and Otto, age 51, were living on West Drive in Malibu. The record says Otto came to the U.S. from Germany in 1892 and was naturalized in 1903. Otto's occupation is that of an artist. In the U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989, for 1927 and 1928 in the Santa Monica area, Elsie and Otto are living at 272 Center Street, in Santa Monica Canyon, and Otto is listed as an artist.
In the 1930 U.S. Census, Elsie, age 54 and Otto, age 61, are living at 272 Ocean Way in Los Angeles. They own their home which is valued at $30,000 and they have a radio in their home (which was a question the census takers asked during that census). The age at which they were married was 30 for Otto and 23 for Elsie. There is no occupation listed for Otto. They are listed at the same address in 1933 per another U.S. City Directory listing. In the 1936 U.S. City Directories listing (1821-1989), Elsie and Otto are living at 272 Entrada Drive in Santa Monica. Otto is listed as an artist. Unfortunately, Otto passed away in April of 1939.
I did not find Elsie in the 1940 U.S. census, but in 1952, per U.S. City Directories, Elsie is listed as the widow of Otto, and is living at 268 Entrada Drive in Santa Monica, per the R.L. Polk and Co's Santa Monica, Los Angeles city directory. She passed away in 1956 and is buried somewhere in Los Angeles.
I was only 5 years old when my Great Aunt Elsie passed away, and if we went to visit her in Santa Monica before then, I certainly don't remember the visit. I do remember my mother talking about her Aunt Elsie though, but I know she was not fond of her because she would never reveal any information about her brother, Stephen James (AKA Euzell) Eubank, who deserted my mom's family when my mom was only about 8 years old in around 1919 or 1920. She and her brothers always wondered what ever happened to their dad, and Aunt Elsie would never reveal any of Stephen's secrets.