Arthur Mathews moved to the San Francisco Bay area at the age of 6. Later choosing art over following in the footsteps of his father's architectural career, Mathews studied at the San Francisco School of Design at which he would later serve as Director from 1889-1906. Mathews continued his formal education at the Academie Julian in Paris. Following the 1906 earthquake, Mathews resigned his post at the School of Design and with his wife, opened the Mathews Furniture Shop. Mathews eschewed Impressionism and his decorative works were an amalgam of Arts and Crafts and classical Tonalist styles. Regarded as a major influence in the art community of San Francisco, Mathews died in that city in 1945.