A nationally known landscape painter, who spent the prime of his career in California, Orrin White was born in Hanover, Illinois. He was artistically inclined at an early age but did not pursue an art career until he was in his thirties. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Notre Dame University in 1902, he studied textile design at the Philadelphia School of Applied Art until 1906.
A few years were spent as assistant professor of chemistry at Portland University and as a textile designer in his parents’ factory, the Hanover Woolen Mills. He tired of this line of work and moved to Los Angeles in 1912 where he worked for an interior decorating company while painting landscapes in his leisure.
When his work was accepted for exhibition in San Francisco at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915, he decided to devote full-time to painting. His art career was briefly interrupted during World War One when he served as a second-lieutenant in the 40th Engineers Camouflage. Upon discharge, he returned to Los Angeles and from that time earned his living as a landscape painter.
He married in 1923 and the couple built a studio-home in Pasadena from where he made regular sketching trips to Palm Springs, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and into Mexico in search of subject matter. White died in Pasadena on April 28, 1969 having acquired national renown.