Chronology of the life of Arthur Beaumont

1890 He was born Arthur Edwin Crabbe on March 25, in Thorpe St. Andrews near Norwich, England, to Moses Samuel Crabbe and Sarah Jane Belderson Crabbe, the fourth of five children.


1894-1898 Schooled at home by a governess/tutor until the age of nine. Beau was artistically influenced at an early age by his mother, a novice artist. He is already sketching fishing schooners in harbor near Yarmouth, England long before enrolling in boarding school.


1899-1908 At the age of nine, he leaves home to attend boarding school at the Holt School. He aspired to be an architect, but he soon realizes he is not sufficiently proficient in math. He joins a paramilitary reserve branch of the Army Cavalry and becomes a skilled horseman. He graduates from Holt in the spring of 1908 with a baccalaureate degree and his revised aspiration to become an artist.


1908 In the summer, he immigrates to Saskatchewan, Canada where he will work on the Crosse ranch. He gains experience as a cowboy on the ranch for almost a year. He experiences the bitter cold of a Canadian winter which encourages him to move to sunnier climes. He sketches all aspects of ranch life which he later incorporates into his early landscape paintings.


1909 At the age of nineteen, he arrives in San Francisco by train and moves in with his brother Will and his wife May in Oakland, California. He enrolls in the art department of the University of California, Berkeley and attends classes at the Mark Hopkins School of Art located in a temporary building atop Nob Hill in San Francisco.


1911 Short of funds, he accepts an offer for a summer ranch job in Klamath Falls, Oregon. While in Oregon, he contracts typhoid fever, and nearly succumbs. He is bedridden and quarantined in a hospice for over three months. After a near death experience, he survived and returned to California in the early fall.


1912-1914 To earn additional funds for his art education, he accepts a job on the Miller and Lux Ranch in California’s San to Joaquin Valley near Firebaugh. He is conscientious in his job and he is promoted to assistant superintendent of the Eastside Ranch within a few months. He remains on the ranch until he is forced to leave after he is attacked and seriously injured by a gang of cattle rustlers. He suffers a fractured skull, loss of hearing in his left ear, and broken ribs. After a lengthy hospitalization in San Francisco, he returns to the ranch to recuperate. While on the ranch, there are additional attempts on his life, leading the sympathetic local sheriff to advise him to “get out of town and change your name.”


1914 World War I breaks put in Europe. Late in the year, Beau travels to British Columbia to volunteer for duty in the British Army, after learning that his brothers have volunteered in England. He is turned down by an Army physician as a result of his nearly complete loss of hearing due to his recent injuries.


1915 He moves south to Loss Angeles and assumes a new name….Arthur Edwaine Beaumont. He works on a construction job at the Los Angeles Bible Institute where he meets his future bride, Dorothy Dean, daughter of Harry and Eva Dean.


1917 He opens first commercial art studio with two other artists and pursues commercial and fine art as full-time career.


1919 Beau and Dorothy Dean are married in Los Angeles on April 4th. The newlyweds move in with Dot’s parents at 1809 Oak St. in Los Angeles.


1921 Beau renews his art studies and enrolls in classes at the newly founded Chouinard Art Institute (years later to be known as the California Institute of the Arts.) He studies with F.Tolles Chamberlin and with an artist contemporary, Stanton MacDonald-Wright.


1922 Birth of his first child, Phyllis Jacqueline Beaumont.


1924 Birth of second child, Dean Edwaine Beaumont.


1925 Mrs. Nelly Chouinard arranges for a graduate fellowship for Beau that will allow him to return to Europe to study. In the fall semester, he attends the Slade School of Art at the University of London while residing at the chic Savage club. He receives an invitation for a private viewing of the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. At Slade he studies under Sir William Russell Flint, Sir Frank Brangwyn and Augustus John, all Royal Academicians.

1926 Beau moves to Paris where he works in the studio of the American sculptor, W.Hunt Diederich. He enrolls at the Academie Julian, studying under Jules Page and Jean-Paul Laurens. In the evenings he sketches at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and the Academie Colarossi. He visits the Louvre Museum frequently and travels to Brussels, Holland, and Spain to see classic museum art collections before his return to the U.S.


1927-1928 He returns to Chouinard where he teaches drawing composition and watercolor technique in the company of his good friend, Millard Sheets. He accepts commercial art assignments and portrait commissions on a freelance basis.


1931 He mounts his first major solo Exhibit at the Palos Verdes Art Association, the Long Beach Art Association, and the Ebell Salon in Los Angeles. The exhibit includes landscapes and seascapes. Beau receives his first important commissions to paint portraits of senior officers of the US Navy.


1932 Beau receives a large Commission by the Women Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to paint an altarpiece for St. Thomas Church in Point Hope, Alaska. In the same year he paints the first of three portraits of Admiral William D. Leahy, Leahy, soon to be head of the Navy, becomes his patron, and offers Beau a commission as a Lieutenant with the title of “Artist of the Fleet.” Beau opens second solo exhibit at his studio at 2506 West Eighth Street in Los Angeles. The exhibit subsequently moves to Balboa Park in San Diego.
Beau receives a commission from UCLA to create the official Olympic Posters for the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games Art Festival.

1933 The exhibit which originated in the Beaumont studio reopens in May at the Villa Riviera Hotel in Long Beach, followed by a second opening at the Biltmore Salon. The Los Angeles Art Association sponsors this show, now named "Our Glorious Navy," The show travels for more than a year under the auspices of the American Federation of the Arts.
Beau receives a commission as Lieutenant in U.S. Naval Reserve, on August 17 with the title of “Artist of the Fleet.”


1934 Beau’s third child, Barbara Elaine Beaumont, is born on January 15 Th. Beau commences his first official Navy cruise aboard the USS Louisville in Long Beach, bound for the Panama Canal. In Panama, he transfers to the USS Portland on route via the Caribbean to Norfolk, Virginia.
Beau attends Presidential Review of the Fleet in New York harbor. He is presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt who commends him personally for his painting of the USS Indianapolis in the company of FDR’s yacht, the Amberjack.
Beau completes his reserve training during the summer on board USS West Virginia. In December, Beau resigns his commission in the US Navy Reserve, and joins the California Naval Guard. This repositioning allows him the freedom to be a freelance artist while still giving him access to the Fleet... Beau meets movie director John Ford who is also a member of the California naval Guard.


1935 Beau opens a second studio in the Pacific Coast Club in Long Beach. John Ford assists Beau with his budding movie career. He is hired to create the publicity drawings and set backdrops for the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty”. The film wins the Academy Award.
Beau is elected President of the Long Beach Art Association 1935-1936.
Beau is selected as one of the United State's 50 best watercolor artists.


1936 Beau’s painting Gypsy Carnival wins first prize for watercolors at the 27th Annual Exhibition of the California Art Club.
Beau is Re-elected President of the Long Beach Art Association 1936-1937.


1937 Geoffrey Campbell Beaumont Beau’s fourth child is born on September 14th. Painting entitled The Wharf wins first prize for watercolor at the 28th Annual Exhibition, California Art Club. Beau is struck by a car outside the Pacific Coast Club in Long Beach and is seriously injured.


1938 Beau moves his studio to his new home at 816 South Saint Andrews Place, in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles. Beau is chosen as Chairman of the Southern California jury for the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco. He selects Jean Mannheim, Katherine Leighton and Millard Sheets as his fellow jurists. Beau is on the host committee at the Exposition and he is assigned to accompany guest artist Diego Rivera as he creates a demonstration mural for the event. Beau assisted Diego in purchasing his paints and materials which he used to create his popular mural.


1939 Beau wins two prizes in the Golden Gate Exposition including fist prize for watercolors. The same year he also wins the purchase prize in the celebrated Clearwater Junior High School annual competition. Beau is retained as an illustrator/journalist for the Long Beach Press Telegram and the Hearst Syndicate’s Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express. He creates images of the war raging in Europe. Beau Serves as chairman of the Aquarelle Painters Society, and as Vice-president of the California Art Club. He is also on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Western Painters.


1940 Beau Teams up with British movie actor, Montagu Love, to organize the Los Angeles Artists and Sculptors Benefit for British and American war relief. He continues in his capacity as a War Correspondent, creating images for the war stories which are appearing frequently in the Hearst Syndicate newspapers.


1941 Beau continues his voyages on major capital ships of the US Fleet, creating sketches that will soon be incorporated in his series of paintings for the National Geographic Magazine. He paints 9 large watercolors representing a wide variety of the warships of the US Navy. These paintings were published in the September issue with the title. "Ships That Guard Our Ocean Ramparts". Several of the ships represented were soon to be sunk in the Japanese attack on Pear harbor, shortly after they were featured in color in the magazine.


1942 Beau receives his second assignment for National Geographic. This series was sponsored by the War Department (Army) and he was engaged to paint a series of sixteen paintings, each of different aspects of the Army on maneuvers. The series appeared in the November issue of National Geographic. Paramount Studios hires Beau to create publicity paintings of scenes taken from the film “Wake Island”. Beau is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, serving as a Senior Combat Artist for the US Navy.


1943 In July Beau, is asked by the Navy to help organize a $40,000,000 War Bond Drive to build the cruiser USS Los Angeles. He creates billboards posters and signed lithographs which are given to those who purchase extra war bonds. The campaign is highly successful and raises over $80,000,000.

1944-1945 Beau completes his mural of Pacific and Atlantic war scenes for the Officers Club at Allen Center, Long Beach. The well known artist Sam Hyde Harris (1889-1977) assists Beau with the project. Beau’s ship portraits and battle scenes are in great demand. He completes his first film: "How I Paint a Watercolor," He is given status as an official War Correspondent, while retaining his Navy Reserve rank.
World War II conclude with the Japanese surrender in September.

1946 Beau is selected as an official artist of Joint Task Force One for “Operation Crossroads”. the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. In July, aboard the flagship USS Fall River, he creates 26 watercolor paintings and 180 sketches, both in pencil and watercolor, of the Able and Baker bomb blasts. Beau is treated successfully for a radiation overdose while painting in plein air. Fall of 1946: The exhibit of the Bikini atomic bomb tests opens at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. The show subsequently tours to multiple venues throughout the US under the auspices of the US Navy’s Joint Task Force One.


1947 Beau cruises aboard the Seventh Fleet flagship, USS St. Paul, to Japan, China, and Guam. Beau discovers secret Japanese combat paintings in a partially bombed museum in Tokyo’s Ueno Park. In China, during the Revolution, he paints in plein air in the Imperial Palace in Beijing. In May, he unveils his large oil painting of the cruiser USS Los Angeles. It is hung in the Rotunda of the Los Angeles City Hall.


1948 The Palos Verdes Art Association exhibits Beau’s paintings from the Bikini tests, and an assortment of paintings from his Far East cruise.


1949 Beau resumes teaching classes at the Glendale Art Institute, the San Pedro Art Association, and the B-Q Gallery in Long Beach. Beau completes a series of works of the twenty-one California Missions for a peacetime audience.


1950-1951 Beau incurs a serious injury to his right "painting" hand while teaching an art class in plein air at the Los Angeles harbor. Sitting temporally on the stool of one of his students, while giving a demonstration, his hand was caught between the metal legs of the collapsible chair, as it disintegrated under his own weight. The result was severe nerve damage to his right hand and loss of dexterity. It will take years to fully recover.


1952 The law firm of Spray, Gould & Bowers of Los Angeles commissions Beau to paint a mural of Charles Dickens characters for their offices. Due to his injury to his right hand, he teaches himself how to paint in oils with his left hand. Watercolors remain beyond his capability until his physical therapy succeeds in overcoming his disability. Before commencing work on the mural Beau drives south to Mexico City to confer with his friend and master muralist, Diego Rivera, on techniques for composition and design for creating a successful mural.


1953-1954 Beau is hired by Universal-International Studios to paint six watercolors depicting scenes from the motion picture, “The Cruel Sea”.
Beau is commissioned by the US Navy create a painting as a gift to Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower, the sponsor who christened the first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus. The painting entitled, “The Birth of the Atomic Navy” hung in the White House during the Eisenhower Administration. Subsequently, it was returned to the Nautilus where it remained in the wardroom for the boat’s entire career. It hangs today in the Nautilus Museum in Groton, Connecticut.


1956 Beau is commissioned by the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles to paint a large oil mural of the discovery of California in 1542 by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, landing for the first time in San Diego Bay.


1957 Beau cruises with the U.S. Navy's Task Group 572 West, as staff artist aboard the flagship, USS El Dorado. He sails and flies more than 30,000 miles, sketching and painting in the Arctic. He sketches the famous Cold War DEW line (Distant Early Warning) sites. The highlight of the trip was his assignment to record completion of the first transit through the Northwest Passage by deep draft vessels. It was an historic achievement; the first voyage from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, through the ice, by way of the illusive Northwest Passage.


1958 In the May issue, the painting of USS Eldorado appears on the cover of United States Naval Institute “Proceedings" magazine. And a second painting in the November issue of “Proceedings” depicts the Canadian icebreaker Labrador, leading a convoy of deep draft vessels through the Canadian waters of the Northwest Passage. Beau Cruises to the Orient aboard the heavy cruiser USS Bremerton by way New Zealand.


1959 Beau is appointed staff artist for Operation Deep Freeze 60, an expedition of the US. Naval Support Force Antarctica and Task Force 43. Beau departs in November on a five month’s voyage to the Antarctic, where he joined Commodore Mac Donald aboard his flagship, the icebreaker USS Glacier.


1960 Beau completes 25 paintings and more than 350 sketches while on assignment exploring the Bellingshausen Sea and the Eights Coast, He returned to the US in March. In November he departs on a second expedition to the Antarctic as part of Operation Deep Freeze 61. After several aborted attempts, he is successful at reaching the South Pole Station. There he creates 3 paintings 25 drawings while working inside the Pole Station with the temperature at 20 to 25 degrees below zero outside. On one sunny day, he was successful at creating one painting outside in plein air at the geographic pole, with the temperature still 20 degrees below zero. This was the first painting ever created at the South Pole. Today this painting resides in the permanent collection of the Explorer’s Club in New York City. While painting on the ice near McMurdo Base, a snow bridge collapses and Beau falls into an ice crevasse. He is pulled up at the last moment by his cabin mate, Roy Champion, a New Zealand Navy captain. It was a close call.


1961 He returns from the Antarctic to Boston in January. On the long voyage homebound, he completes more than 25 refined watercolor paintings, based on images from the many sketches he made during his voyage. The Arctic and Antarctic paintings will tour multiple venues across the US for the next two years.


1963 Beau is honored as one of seventy-five citizens to have attained national recognition for outstanding contributions to society by the city of Long Beach. Beau takes Dot with him for the first time as they take a trip around the world by air Beau suffers a mild heart attack in India.


1964 In a Navy League Ceremony in Beverly Hills California, Beau is awarded the Navy Meritorious Public Service Citation for valuable contributions to the Navy, authorized by the Secretary of the Navy, Paul Nitze. Beau commences a new series of watercolor paintings depicting Revolutionary War and War of 1812 sailing vessels, the earliest ships in the fledgling US Navy. It will take more than ten years to complete the series. These paintings will then be featured in his Bi-Centennial exhibition in 1976.


1966 Beau’s final trip abroad, flying with the Navy on a secret mission to Vietnam. He will sketch the Navy's small craft operations on the Mekong River against Viet Cong, in addition to fleet carrier operations off the coast of Vietnam.


1967 Beau cruises with the fleet off the California coast in operation "Blue Coral" aboard the heavy cruises, USS Chicago. Beau moves his studio from Los Angeles to his new home at 615 B Avenida Sevilla, Laguna Hills, California. It will be his final studio.


1968  Beau cruises aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown for two weeks, sketching fleet air operations. Beau is appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles to the Mayor's Community Advisory Board.


1970 Beau receives in his last major commission; He is retained by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company to paint 24 vessels, individually, in a new class of amphibious ships as they are launched. The project will require three years to complete.


1972 Beau receives the “Honorary Aviator" award by the Third Marine Aircraft Wing of the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro.


1976 Beau mounts his final Retrospective Exhibition celebrating the Bi-Centennial of the United States at the Laguna Beach Museum of Art. Drawn from his entire career, 127 paintings are displayed, occupying the entire museum. Launched with a black tie opening gala, the exhibit set a new museum attendance record.


1977 In September, Beau suffers a heart attack. He survives, but he is no longer able to paint.


1978 On January, 23, 1978, Beau passes away at his home in Laguna Hills. Dot, his wife of fifty nine years, was at his side.