Painter. Born in York, Pennsylvania on June 18, 1888. Mitchell spent his childhood in New Jersey. As a teenager he prospected for gold and drove a stage coach in Nevada. He settled in San Diego about 1909 and studied at the San Diego Academy of Art (1913) under Maurice Braun. In 1916 he entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts for further training. After his academic training and a tour of Europe on a scholarship, in 1920 he returned to San Diego where he remained for the rest of his life. His paintings done during his student days (pre-1920) were often signed “Fred Mitchell”. One of San Diego’s most renowned painters and teachers, he died there on November 9, 1972.
Member: Contemporary Artists of San Diego; Laguna Beach Art Association; La Jolla Art Association (Co-founder); San Diego Art Guild (President 1922-23); Chula Vista Art Guild; California Art Club.
Exhibited: Panama-Pacific Exposition, 1915 (silver medal); Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Annual, 1920 (Bok prize),1927; Painters and Sculptors of Los Angeles, 1923; California State Fair, 1930; San Diego Artists Guild, 1926 (prize); Wilmington, DE, 1920; California-Pacific International Exposition, 1935, 1936; Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939; Buck Hill Art Association, 1939 (prize); Laguna Beach Art Association, 1940 (prize); San Diego Fine Arts Society; Chula Vista Artists Guild, 1945 (prize), 1946 (prize); San Diego County Fair, 1950 (prize), 1951 (prize); Fiesta Del Pacifico, 1956 (prize); La Jolla Art Center, 1956 (prize); San Diego Art Institute, 1956 (Award of Distinction), 1960 (first prize). Award: Cresson traveling scholarship, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1920.
Works held: University of Oregon Medical School; Van Nuys High School; San Diego Public Library; Reading Museum; San Diego Fine Arts Society; University Club, San Diego; YMCA & YWCA, San Diego; San Diego Museum of Man; Evening High School; Blanden Mem. Gal., Ft. Dodge, IA; Ohio Wesleyan University; Hahnemann medical Col., Philadelphia, PA; University of West Virginia.
Sources: Sunlight and Shadow : The Art of Alfred R. Mitchell, San Diego Historical Society, 1988; Plein Air Painters (Ruth Westphal); Southern California Artists (Nancy Moore); Dictionary of American Painters, Engravers & Sculptors (Fielding); American Art Annual 1929-33; Who’s Who in American Art 1936-62; Artists of the American West (P & H Samuels, 327-gives alternate birthdate of 1886); Falk, Exhibition Record Series. Hughes, Artists in California, 383. --