Sunday, March 19, 2:00 pm, Monthly Program via Zoom.
Kissing Cousins: The Artistic Lives of San Francisco’s Albert M. Bender and Anne M. Bremer
A Presentation by Ann Harlow
When Anne M. Bremer died of leukemia on October 26, 1923, San Francisco lost one of its leading artists. She left behind a reputation as a pioneer of modern art in California and a woman of great strength, both in character and in painting style. A national art publication had just featured an article about this “woman artist with a man’s touch.” Her paintings continue to draw admiration today.
Her cousin and life partner, Albert M. Bender, lived almost two decades longer than Bremer and became a greatly admired and loved patron of the arts in the Bay Area. He played key roles in the careers of Ansel Adams, Beniamino Bufano, Joseph Raphael and Diego Rivera, and through his patronage and friendship helped support countless other artists and writers. Gradually, the public forgot that it was because of Anne Bremer that Bender had first become involved in the art world.
To their close friends, they were clearly a loving couple for at least the last decade of her all-too-short life. To the outside world they were an artist and an insurance broker-art patron whose names were seldom linked, or at most who happened to be cousins and live in the same building. Their lifestyle seems to have successfully straddled the borderline between bohemian and bourgeois San Francisco of the 1910s and ’20s.
Ann Harlow has been working on a dual biography of “AMB and AMB” off and on for more than twenty years. This illustrated talk will be a dry run for one she has been invited to present to the San Francisco History Association in May. Ann is an independent scholar specializing in California art and culture from 1850 to 1950. She retired from a career working with the California art collections at the Oakland Museum, Mills College, and Saint Mary’s College of California. She has served multiple terms as president of both the Institute for Historical Study and the Berkeley Historical Society & Museum.