More about Louis Akin (1868-1913)

Born near Corvallis, Oregon in 1868, Louis Akin was the grandson of pioneers who took the Oregon Trail west from Iowa in 1852. Raised in the Portland area, the painter spent time observing wildlife in the Cascade mountains before traveling to New York to study with William Merritt Chase and Frank Dumond.

Akin moved from Oregon to New York, and then to the southwest because it was better for his lungs.Best known for his paintings of Hopi Indians and the Southwestern landscape, the artist made his first trip to Arizona in 1903, renting a room in a Hopi pueblo. Within a year, his paintings of the Hopi were being reproduced on postcards and travel posters, and his oils and watercolors were being sold to serious collectors.

Akin lived and worked for most of the next ten years in Arizona. He lived at El Tovar and, when he didn’t pay his bill, he worked it off by promoting the area for the Santa Fe Railroad. Well-known contemporary Arizonan Bruce E. Babbitt wrote the most comprehensive biographical study of the artist (Color and Light: The Southwest Canvases of Louis Akin. Flagstaff: Northland Press. 1973), and his family were among Akin’s staunchest friends and patrons. The artist’s studio was for a time in the Babbit Bros. store in Flagstaff.

Akin made a painting trip to the Fraser River area of British Columbia in 1909. In 1911 he was commissioned to produce paintings for the new Southwest American Indian room at the American Museum of Natural History. He had completed twenty oil sketches toward that end when he died of pneumonia in 1913.

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Louis Akin (1868-1913)
Louis Akin – El Tovar, Grand Canyon

Louis Akin – El Tovar, Grand