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Daughter of Tombstone Carvers Becomes Landscape Artist


After marrying and having two children, Grace Russell Fountain took up painting.

She had grown up in Southern Oregon, attending school in the 1860's and 70's in Ashland, Ore.  She was the second of 11 children of Ann and James Russell, who carved decorative tombstones in the Rogue Valley.

In 1878, Grace married James Fountain, a merchant, miner and teacher. She studied painting in Klamath Falls with a famous landscape artist of the time, William S. Parrott. He taught by having students watch him paint and then go home to try to do the same.

The Fountains moved to Portland and by the late 1880s Grace had a studio and was teaching women to paint. Her own landscapes were gaining recognition. In 1904 she painted a Crater Lake scene that accompanied Joaquin Miller’s story titled “Sea of Silence” in Sunset Magazine.

Soon after, she moved to Oakland, Calif., to join the colony of impressionist painters there.  She lived near her friend, Joaquin Miller, and continued as a successful landscape artist until her death in 1942.

Check your attic for a Grace Russell Fountain painting. They are worth thousands.

Sources: "Grace Fountain 1858-1942." Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery. Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery, 2014. Web. 13 Sept. 2014 http://www.bodegabayheritagegallery.com/Fountain_Grace_Grand_Canyon_.htm>; "Obituary Grace R. Fountain." San Francisco Chronicle 10 Feb. 1942: 9. Print.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.