MANUEL VALENCIA Biography

Return to Artist Page




Manuel Valencia was born in Marin County, California on October 30, 1856 on the family hacienda called Rancho San Jose, which is now Hamilton Field.  A member of one of California's earliest families, Manuel was named after his grandfather who came to California with the Anza Party in 1774 and became administrator of the Presidio in San Francisco.  The Valencia's were given many land grants in the San Francisco Bay area and a street near Mission Dolores is named in honor of his family.  Manuel attended Santa Clara College and then established a studio in San Francisco.  He began painting when he was quite young and remained a self-taught artist except for a few lessons with Jules Tavernier locally and in Mexico City.  The earthquake and subsequent fires in 1906 caused the Valencia's to move down the peninsula to San Jose, however he commuted daily to his San Francisco studio and worked as a staff artist for the San Francisco Chronicle and as an illustrator for the Salvation Army Newspaper.  A prolific painter, Valencia is best known for his landscapes and historic scenes of Northern California, which often included nocturnal adobes, missions and pueblos.  Following an operation, he died in Sacramento on July 6, 1935.  His ashes were scattered on Mount Tamalpais.