american (b. canada)
Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada
A painter, watercolorist and printmaker, John Wesley Cotton is known for his landscapes of European cities and countryside and the works he created while living in Southern California during the years following World War I. Cotton was born in Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada, near Toronto, in 1868. He was educated in a public school in what is now Mississauga, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. Cotton studied art at the Art Students League of Toronto and then at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1911 he went to London, where he studied with E. Marsden Wilson (1877-1965) for two years. Cotton apparently stayed in Europe until around 1915, and traveled around England, Belgium and France, recording scenes that he used to create landscape etchings. His first exhibition was in Toronto in 1912; he became a member of the Ontario Society of Artists. He exhibited with the Chicago Society of Etchers in 1915 and was a member of that society. Cotton exhibited twenty-one prints at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, primarily landscape scenes from England and Belgium, and received an honorable mention. After serving in the Allied Expeditionary Force during World War I, he settled in Glendale, California. Cotton became active in several artists’ associations. He was a founder of the California Water Color Society in 1921 and exhibited in nine of its annual exhibitions, beginning that year. In addition to paintings and etchings, he was known for his color aquatint prints. He belonged to the California Printmakers’ Society, California Art Club and Glendale Art Association and was president of the Painters & Sculptors of Los Angeles, 1923-1926. He exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1923, and at other Southern California venues during that decade. He was in Toronto during November 1931 when he died. (TNB 12/2014). Selected bibliography: Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art, p. 132. Madison, Conn.: Sound View Press, 1985. Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California 1786-1940. 2nd edition, p. 118. San Francisco: Hughes Publishing Company, 1989.