Landscape painter, muralist. Born in Washburn, Missouri on March 1, 1883. Payne left home at age 14 and found work painting houses, stage sets, and signs. His travels took him through the Ozarks and into Mexico. Except for a brief period at the Art Institute of Chicago, he remained a self-taught artist. On his first visit to California in 1909, he spent several months painting in Laguna Beach before visiting San Francisco. In 1917 he returned to Glendale, California with a commission from Chicago’s Congress Hotel for a mural of 11,000 square yards of muslin. In 1918 the Paynes established a home and studio in Laguna Beach where he organized and became the first president of the local art association. He continued painting and exhibiting in Los Angeles and Laguna until 1922 when he and his wife, Elsie, began a two-year painting tour of Europe. During the next eight years their winter residence was mainly in and around New York City. They traveled from coast to coast in the U.S. until 1932 when they returned to Hollywood and the following year separated. Payne is internationally famous for his canvases depicting Indians riding through the desert canyons and landscapes of the Sierra Nevada. He produced a color motion picture called Sierra Journey and Payne Lake in the High Sierra is named for him. He died in Hollywood, California on April 8, 1947.
Member: Allied Art Association; American Artists Professional League; California Art Club; Carmel Art Association; Chicago Society of Artists; International Society Art League; Laguna Beach Art Association; Palette and Chisel Club; Salmagundi Club; Ten Painters of Los Angeles.
Exhibited: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1919; Paris Salon, France, 1923; Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1939.
Awards: Medals, California State Fair, 1917, 1918; prize, Art Institute of Chicago, IL, 1920; prize, Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, 1921; prize, National Academy of Design, NY, 1929; prize, California Art Club, 1947.
Works held: Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; Chicago Museum, IL; Fleischer Museum, Scottsdale, AZ; Indianapolis Museum, IN; Irvine Museum; Jonathan Art Foundation, Los Angeles; National Academy of Design, NY; New Mexico Art Association, NM; Oakland Museum of California; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; Pasadena Art Institute; Southwest Museum, Los Angeles.