Hubert Julian Stowitts

A Chronology

 

1892
Born in Rushville, Nebraska on June 26, father a store clerk, mother a teacher.

1898-1910
Attends primary and high school in Lead, South Dakota; graduates with high marks in classical curriculum: Virgil, Ancient History, Physics, German & English Literature; family moves to southern California.

1911-1915
Enters University of California at Berkeley, Winner of Freshman Essay. Inducted Economics Honor Society; becomes Carrie M. Jones Scholar; wins his Big "C" in record two-mile run; appointed State of California Scholar. His talent in dance becomes predominant and he studies classical ballet with Mlle. Louise LaGai. Solo appearance in The Attainment of Nirvana; appears as Hermes, and later as Domingo, a dancer in The Fiat Lux, A Senior Extravaganza by classmate Sidney Coe Howard. Accepted for graduate study at Harvard University. Meets Pavlova and arranges audition. Joins the Pavlova Ballets Russes company, canceling Harvard Business School.

1916-1921
First American to partner Pavlova. Paints first designs in oil. Travels throughout North and South America with Russian company. Receives first critical acclaim for costume and set designs. Meets Isadora Duncan. Sails for Cuba where company begins two year Latin American tour. Paints first portrait of Pavlova. Makes his professional debut as choreographer in La Peri. WWI ends and sails with company to Europe. First appearance at Madrid Opera House, then on to Paris and London. Meets Picasso. Performances throughout Europe. Establishes studio in his Paris duplex. Leaves Pavlova company.

1922-1925
Appears on stages in London, Paris, New York. Meets Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld who invites him to be his guest at his home in Berlin. While in Berlin becomes friends with Ferdinand Karsch-Haack who shared his researches on native peoples' homosexuality with Stowitts.Creates own, short-lived ballet company completing a tour of the Scandinavian countries. Stars in Irving Berlin's Music Box Revue, NYC. First professional exhibition of drawings and paintings at Knoedler's Gallery, NYC. Stars in Folies-Bergere, Paris. Meets C.T. Crocker and joins in collaboration of Chinese opera as costume, set designer and choreographer.

1926
Paints The Fall of the Angels, and commences designs for The Work of Stowitts for Fay Yen Fah. Appears in his first motion picture, The Magician, Metro, in the south of France adapted from a Somerset Maugham novel.

1927
Exhibits The Work of Stowitts for Fay Yen Fah and The Fall of the Angels in Paris. Takes studio in Venice and paints acclaimed portraits of notables including Ezra Pound, Ida Rubinstein, Isadora Duncan, Princess Pignatelli and, in Rome, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. Sails for the Orient to study native dance and drama.

1928-1931
Visits Bali and settles in Java where he studies native dance and music and arranges to paint collection representing The Royal Theatre Arts of Indonesia and completes a book manuscript on the history of native dance and costumes. His articles on Javanese culture appear in European and American periodicals. Sails for India and exhibits his Javanese paintings at the India National Museum in Calcutta and arranges to travel throughout India seeking subjects for Vanishing India collection. Sees Pavlova for the last time in Bombay. Arranges for European museum exhibition tour, and sails for France with his large cases of paintings. Both collections receive wide critical acclaim throughout the Continent and the artist unknowingly inaugurates the first blockbuster one-man traveling exhibition program. Pavlova dies unexpectedly in Holland.

1932-1935
Returning to the United States after an absence of almost a decade, Stowitts administers non-stop European and American museum tour of his collections, and settles in Los Angeles. Returning to the stage he stars as Prometheus at the Hollywood Bowl, setting new attendance record. MGM signs him for his second feature film, The Painted Veil starring Greta Garbo. Stowitts is outed to the Hollywood press by old friend and rival designer Adrian. Begins painting American Champions. Signed by 20th Century Fox to appear in and choreograph dance sequence in Dante's Inferno starring Spencer Tracy. Is entrapped by LA vice and arrested on trumped-up sexual perversion charges in Griffith Park.

1936-1937
Accompanies his latest collection of champion American athletes to Berlin for exhibition during the Olympic Games. Meets Leni Riefenstahl who protects him from persecution for being gay by allowing him to help edit her Olympia film. His mother dies unexpectedly in Los Angeles. Stranded in Nazi Germany, having exhausted all his funds to safely ship his collection home, he works on book manuscripts by night and films Fanny Ellsler at UFA studios by day, his fourth and final feature film. Returns to California and resumes work on The Golden Age of the Ballets Russes collection.

1938-1945
Completes ballet paintings and polishes book manuscript on the history of this dance era. Lectures throughout the western United States on India and Javanese culture as his collections continue American museum tour. Increasingly impoverished he lives and works as a caretaker of a Redondo Beach vacation beach home owned by former university classmates.

1946-1950
Finances decline as well as health and he suffers the first of a series of three heart attacks resulting in prolonged hospitalizations. Completes Gandhi and Nehru portraits. Secludes himself in cottage studio behind sister's Redondo Beach home and using his earlier research and drawings commences the painting of last epic collection which he tentatively entitled The Cosmos Suite. Completes manuscript to accompany the new paintings.

1951-1953
Using Steve Reeves as a model, commences his last, unfinished series of paintings entitled The Labors of Hercules. On February 8, 1953, with his sister at his bedside, the artist dies in the San Marino Sanitorium from complications of heart and kidney failure.

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The Stowitts Museum & Library

 

Biography ~ Paintings One ~ Paintings Two ~ Discussion Group

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