Workers – San Francisco, oil on board, c. 1930s, signed lower left, 12 x 18 ½ inches; illustrated in St. Gaudens, Maurine, Emerging from the Shadows: A Survey of Women Artists Working in California, 1860-1960, Schiffer Publishing, Inc. (2015), pp. 28-29; presented in a newer frame
About the Painting
Hedvig Armendinger's Workers-San Francisco depicts a road crew on the outskirts of the city center. Bisecting the composition, the artist places a belching asphalt furnace and roller and five crewmen who are busy making repairs. The background shows the growing San Francisco skyline. The three towers in the distance are likely the Neo-Gothic Russ Building which was completed in 1927 and held the title as the tallest building in San Francisco until 1965 when the Hartford Building surpassed it by 31 feet. Although very much in keeping with 1930s theme of honoring hard-working labor, Armendinger's brushy impressionistic technique recalls a slightly earlier era when plein air painting dominated the California art scene. Being a generation older than many other artists in America Coast to Coast, the artist was likely at home with these loosely rendered forms.
About the Artist
Hedvig C. Armendinger (Armendonger) was born in Oslo Norway. She immigrated to the United States in 1886 and lived in South Dakota and then Grand Rapids, Michigan after her marriage to a career soldier in the US Army. By 1920 she was divorced, and city directories identified her as an artist. After living briefly in Chicago, she relocated to San Francisco and continued to maintain a studio there and work as an artist throughout her life. She passed away in San Mateo County, California.