Landscape, 1916

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Astley D. M. COOPER  
1856 - 1924

Astley David Middleton Cooper was born in St Louis, Missouri on December 22, 1856, the son of Fannie Clark O’Fallon and Dr. David M. Cooper, an eminent surgeon. At an early age, A. D. M. Cooper was fascinated with the Indian paintings of George Catlin, a close friend of the Cooper family. After attending Washington University, he traveled throughout the West as an illustrator for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. At age twenty he was in the West at the time of the Custer massacre and became famous as a painter of the Old West and Indians. In 1879 he moved to San Francisco and became active with the local art association. Upon establishing a studio, he was in demand as a portraitist and painted several studies of General U. S. Grant. In 1883 he moved to East San Jose where he later built a unique studio-home in Egyptian style. There he entertained lavishly. He often invited visiting opera and vaudeville troupes to his home for after-hours raucous parties. As well as a painter, he was also an accomplished violinist and often sat in with local orchestras. In his later years he painted allegorical scenes with semi-nude women and several trompe l'oeil studies. On rare occasions he signed his paintings "A. Dubernet" or "David Middleton." In his more lucid moments, Cooper was capable of producing masterpieces; however, due to his affinity for alcohol his paintings are uneven in quality. (He would often pay his saloon debts with his paintings.) Cooper died in San Jose, California on September 10, 1924. Exhibited: Mechanics' Institute (San Francisco), 1893; Triton Museum (Santa Clara), 1976. Works held: San Jose Historical Museum; Western Art Museum (Tulsa, OK); Buffalo Bill Historical Center; Stanford Museum; Oakland Museum; Gilcrease Institute; Smithsonian Institution; Whitney Gallery of Western Art (Cody, WY); Veterans Memorial Bldg (Oakland); Santa Cruz City Museum; Caesar's Palace (Las Vegas); San Jose Convention Center (VIP Lounge); California Historical Society.

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