Kapalaea Fine Art
Hawaiʻi's Art Appraisal Service
Specializing in art appraisals and the sales & referrals of vintage Hawaiian paintings, etchings, drawings, and Hawaiiana.
Leo Lloyd Sexton, Jr. was born in Hilo, and after graduation from Punahou School, entered the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1931. In 1933 he had a show of floral paintings at the Vose Galleries in Boston, followed by exhibitions at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and Gump’s in San Francisco. He spent several years in Europe, painting and traveling during the summers and studying at the Slade School in London during the winters. In his third and final year of instruction there, one of his paintings won first prize, and in 1936 a floral painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy, London. Sexton returned to Hilo in 1937 and concentrated on figure painting and portraiture. That same year his painting Nanea was accepted and exhibited at the Royal Academy. Sexton executed a large number of portraits, and beginning in 1934 before he left for Europe, did two commissions for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. He was a frequent and popular exhibitor at shows in Honolulu. He also had one-man shows at Honolulu’s Grossman-Moody Gallery in 1957 and at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel Gallery in 1961. A retrospective of his work was held at the Contemporary Arts Center in 1966. He died in Honolulu in 1990. Although Sexton is generally known in Hawai'i as an interpreter of the landscape, he was equally interested in depicting flowers. In fact, Sexton’s first one-man show at the Honolulu Academy of Arts in 1933 consisted of only floral works. A review of the show noted: “Mr. Sexton depends upon lineal representation, each blossom being carefully drawn from nature. But by simplifying his tone and color and eliminating modeling so that the surface of the pane is unbroken, the more successful designs acquire a decorative character.” His paintings are much sought after and command very high prices. Mollie Hustace, Director of Isaacs Art Center, showcased nine of his paintings at the 2015 “Golden Age of Painting Show” in Waimea; it was possibly the only exhibition of so many of his magnificent works together in one venue for many years. A remarkable display of his florals is in the Laurence A. Rockefeller Collection at the Mauna Kea Resort.
Edgar Leeteg was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He was an American painter often considered the father of American velvet painting. Before Leeteg, black velvet painting was primarily considered a hobby, not an art. Leeteg initially worked as a billboard painter and sign writer in California before losing his job due to the Depression. Taking a small inheritance, Leeteg moved to Tahiti in 1933 with a few brushes and some paint stolen from his previous employer. Using the women of the island as his models, he sold paintings to visiting sailors. Leeteg’s best work was done between the years 1933 and 1953. He lived in Cook’s Bay, Tahiti and his main subject was the beautiful Polynesian woman whom he painted amidst their background, their culture and their history. The eroticism, color and detail of these paintings made him famous. Leeteg’s popularity soared following a fortunate meeting with Honolulu art gallery owner Barney Davis, who became his patron. It was with Davis’ help that Leeteg built his great Villa Velour estate in Tahiti. Davis worked as Leeteg’s agent and they had a fruitful and profitable relationship together. His paintings were popular in bars in America and Polynesia. Davis branded Leeteg the “American Gauguin” and soon Leeteg’s paintings were being sold for thousands of dollars. However, fame as an artist was something that he never expected, saying, “my paintings belong in a gin mill, not a museum. If this modern crap is art, then just call my paintings beautiful. Don’t call them art.” Edgar Leeteg died in 1953 of a motorcycle crash at the age of 49. Original paintings by this master appear at auction houses or private estate sales from time to time, and always generate much interest because of the nostalgic life style of “the South Seas”. Numerous books have been written on black velvet art, always attributing Leeteg as the great master. His primary pupil was the late Ralph Burke Tyree, whose outstanding work has seen values approaching $10,000. Sometimes their work was categorized as “Tiki Art” and graced famous haunts as Trader Vic’s, Kona Inn, Don the Beachcomber, Canlis Restaurant, Pat’s at Punalu’u, the Tropics, the Chi Chi Bar in Catalina, 7 Seas in Hollywood, and the Tahitian Room Lounge in Vancouver. Values are quite high for his more glamorous works. Many recall seeing his paintings on the walls at Pat’s, the O’Halloran’s Punalu’u, Oahu tiki bar and restaurant, back in the late 50s and early 60s.
Hitchcock, D. Howard
Long regarded as one of the most important interpreters of the Hawaiian landscape, David Howard Hitchcock had a lengthy and prolific career, spanning more than sixty years. His finest period as a landscape artist was from about 1905 to 1930. In addition to his paintings of volcanoes, Hitchcock became widely known for his large dioramas and other mural-size paintings of island scenes. In the early 20th century, Hitchcock was arguably Hawaii's outstanding resident professional artist.
Born in Hilo, Hawai’i, he was the first Hawai’i-born painter to receive formal art training. In Paris, he presented numerous paintings of volcanoes, which circulated widely enough to attract tourist attention to the islands. He depicted the volcanoes in a range of appearances, from fiery explosions to calm renderings of the landscape. During extensive travels in the 1900’s, Hitchcock explored the volcanic regions of the island of Hawai’i. In July 1907 he made his first visit to the island of Kauai, becoming one of the earliest artists to paint Waimea Canyon. He also executed dramatic views of Hawai’i for display on vessels of the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company.
Hitchcock was Jules Tavernier's protégé and principal student. He first met Tavernier in January 1885, when Tavernier made his initial trip to Hilo, Hawai’i, along with landscape painter Joseph Strong. He later recalled that this encounter determined the course of his life: "When I met Tavernier in Hilo with Joe Strong, it was the first time I had ever seen a real artist. He looked at my first efforts in art and encouraged me in my work. Like a parasite, I followed Tavernier and Strong to Kilauea to watch them at their painting."
D. Howard Hitchcock died in Honolulu in 1943. His works reside in the Boston Museum, the Oakland Museum, the Bishop Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and in many very private collections. His magnificent and cherished paintings boldly express, with freely applied paint and fresh tonal range, the luminous, evanescent atmosphere of the islands. An art collector should expect to spend substantial dollars to possess a Hitchcock masterpiece. They do appear with some frequency at auctions, exclusive galleries, and private estate sales.
Martha Lowrey Greenwell is one of the most respected Hawai’i-based painters of this current period. The book titled The Islands of Hawai’i—Paintings by Martha L. Greenwell, published in 2000, illuminates her years of magnificent work. A major display of her work is part of the permanent exhibition at the Isaacs Art Center in Waimea. Her range of scenes include the mountains to the ocean, of canoes in fishponds, of beach shacks on long since developed lands, of mountain cabins on Hawai’i’s many ranches, of volcanic images from the National Park, of horseback riders in the foggy mists of the rainforests, of the snow-capped Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa summits, and of the native birds, goats, and cattle in her vision of the beauty of the islands. The artist has become a beloved part of the art history and legacy of our island culture. Her works are both panoramic and intimate; they engage us immediately because we have been there. Owning a Martha Greenwell painting is a rare opportunity to have a Hawaiian masterwork and a privilege. The grandeur of Greenwell’s scenes is most remarkable for their diminutive size. Her smallest of brushstrokes is a testament to her mastery as an artist. Do not expect to ever find a Greenwell painting at a gallery; her truly special work only appears at selected auctions.
Harry Wishard has become a prominent painter of Hawaiian landscapes and seascapes. He has extended the realist tradition of his uncle and mentor Lloyd Sexton. His remarkable spectrum of colors and precise details bring his masterpieces to life. His works are now a popular centerpiece for many live auctions and the values will steadily grow over the years. He has exhibited widely and is perhaps with Martha Greenwell and Betty Freeland one of the most sought after artists working in Hawai’i today. Working mostly with oils, the artist captures the unique colors and light of pristine landscapes and seascapes en route to capturing the timeless beauty of Hawai’i. Wishard has a personal gallery in Waimea and is also on display at numerous galleries throughout the state. He donates generously to charitable auctions, particularly Hawaii Preparatory Academy.
Beverly Fettig was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas and moved to the North Shore of O’ahu in 1960. She is highly regarded as one of the best “pure” palette knife painters in Hawai’i. Her early training was with Chico Hansen of Spain, who was a student of Peter Hayward. Her gallery exhibits and shows have been in California, Spain, and Hawai’i, including the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Major corporate collectors include United Airlines, First Hawaiian Bank, American Savings, and C.S. Wo. The artist divides her time between studio homes in Cadaques, Spain and Hale’iwa, Hawai’i. Many of her oil paintings brilliantly capture the flavor of the rustic town of Hale’iwa, which has been her home for more than thirty years. She earned the respect and admiration of its residents for preserving the town's landmarks on canvas. She says "many of the houses and stores in Hale'iwa that I recorded are history -- they're no longer there -- my paintings are a way of keeping them alive”. Art critics compliment Fettig’s works for their true blues of Hawai’i’s ocean and skies, along with her understanding of its clouds. She is represented in several galleries throughout the State.
Christian, Henry B.
Henry B. Christian was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He studied at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and first visited Hawai’i in 1908. He made frequent trips between Minnesota and Hawai’i before settling in Honolulu. Christian was the art director of Paradise of the Pacific 1908-10, 1917–19, and 1922-38. His works are difficult to find; the landscapes and figurative works are realistic and engaging. He was a premier illustrator before developing skills with oils. He died in Honolulu on December 23, 1953. Rarely do works by Christian become available, only appearing every so often in exclusive galleries or at a live estate auction.
Painter, etcher, and muralist, Will Sparks became one of California's premier artists, known for his mission and nocturnal adobe scenes. Sparks was born in St. Louis, Missouri and showed art talent as a youngster, selling his first painting when he was age twelve. He became a doctor, but his love of art prevailed and he attended the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and then went to New York and then Paris to the Academies Julian and Colarossi where he studied with Gerome, Harpignies, and Bouguereau. In Paris he earned money as an assistant to biologist Louis Pasteur for whom he made anatomical drawings. He was also much influenced by the Barbizon painters and Cezanne. He returned to St. Louis and in 1886 exhibited in the St. Louis Expo where he met Mark Twain whose stories of California inspired him to head west. He stayed briefly in Cincinnati and Denver before reaching California, where he started with Fresno and Stockton newspapers doing illustrations. In 1891, he settled in San Francisco, establishing a studio at 163 Sutter Street. Here he combined illustration work and writing for the San Francisco Evening Call with easel painting, including the paintings of the California missions. In 1904, he joined the faculty of the University of California, doing anatomy drawings for medical classes. In 1907 he helped establish the Del Monte Art Gallery and in 1913 he was a charter member of the California Society of Etchers. Sparks died in San Francisco on March 30, 1937. His paintings are in the collections of the Huntington Museum (San Marino, CA), the Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento), the De Young Museum (San Francisco), the St. Louis Art Museum, the Sonoma Mission State Museum, the Honolulu Art Museum, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor (San Francisco), and the Bohemian Club (San Francisco).
Regarded as one of Hawaii's important painters, Peter Hayward specialized in oil painting. He was born in Keene, NH and graduated from Middlebury College. His painting topics ranged from urbanscapes to seascapes to landscapes. He has been praised for his masterful techniques capturing the essence of the flora and topography of Hawai'i. His exceptional palette knife skills have put him in the forefront with a select group of painters. He was able to give definition to each type of tree, from palm to banana to the umbrella-shaped shower tree, towering above colorful and usually shaded foliage. His paintings are saturated with light, warmth, and the beauty and intimacy of a cherished place. Hayward worked for many of his later years out of a beachfront studio in the beach community at Punalu'u, Oahu, which was sort of an artist and writer's retreat away from urban Honolulu. People remember him with his easel, either on the beach or on the side of the road. Having taught himself to paint following a serious car accident, he mastered the palette knife and combined the spontaneous brushwork and luminous scenes of Impressionism with the bold expressive strokes of Post-Impressionism. Hayward paintings capture the mood and power of Windward Oahu waves, stormy days along the shore, and the beloved rural scenes of cottages and farms tucked under the Ko'olau Mountains.
Bennett Bradbury was born in Wrentham, Massachusetts into a musical family; his mother was a grand opera star with the Boston Opera and his maternal grandfather was an acclaimed cellist. His brother Ray took a literary route, writing the novels The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451. Bennett received early acclaim in art, winning a scholarship from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts at 15 years. His overpowering love of the ocean found him joining the Navy in 1931. His subsequent travels gave him opportunities to observe and study the ever-changing moods of the sea. Afterwards he joined Walt Disney Studios and then became an independent painter. For eight years he had a studio at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki, then moved on to Laguna Beach and finally Carmel where he passed away in 1991. Collections of his work are found at the Mayo Clinic, St. Louis Museum, Boston Museum, Cleveland Museum, Monterey Museum, and the Orange County Museum. Private collectors include Paul Getty, Jr., opera star Dorothy Kirsten, the late Shah of Iran, Huntington Hartford, Joan Fontaine, and Prince Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. Corporate collections are still with American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Lockheed Corporation, the former Pan American Airlines, and Atlantic Richfield.
For over thirty years prior to his early death, art collectors world-wide have been captivated by the diversity with which Kevin Mulville continued to showcase his talent in his extraordinary works of art. Expressing creativity through oils, watercolor and mixed-media, Mulville used dramatic contrasts of light, color and shapes to reveal the magical mysteries of the world around us. Nature harmoniously meets with imagination in paintings that reflect a deep love for art. His paintings are in the collections of Jane Russell, Lucille Ball, Bank of America, Honeywell Corporation, Universal Studios, and Warner Brothers. As an artist, he was based in Nevada, but spent a considerable amount of time painting Hawaiian landscapes and seascapes. His works are seldom seen in galleries and auctions; it is a rare opportunity to obtain one of his masterpieces.
Stephen Paschal has been painting since he was a young boy. He spent most of his later youth traveling and learning the styles of the great masters, learning to paint everything in order to fully achieve a sense of expression. Seeking a faster lifestyle, Paschal moved to Europe early on where he lived a bohemian life of sketching and painting with other artists. He lived initially in Paris and later in Germany for nearly a decade. After moving to Hawai'i in the 1960's, he was heavily influenced by the breath-taking beauty of the islands that is reflected in his sea and landscapes. He has exhibited at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and is a member of the Association of Hawai'i Artists. Paschal was a student in Hawai'i under Hiroshi Tagami and many feel his depictions reflect works by Lionel Walden and D. Howard Hitchcock. He most enjoys scenes reminiscent of 'Old Hawai'i'.