August Gay (1890-1948)

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August Gay was a French born painter, best known for his involvement in the northern California school of art. Gay was born and spent the first ten years of his life in the village of Rabou, France. In 1900 Gay’s family immigrated to the United States, making a new family home in Alameda, California.

Gay, Vada


Gay, Old China Town in Pacific Grove

Old China Town in Pacific Grove

Gay realized his interest in art at an early age and enrolled in classes in San Francisco at the California College of Fine arts and at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. Through his coursework, Gay became a close associate of fellow painter, Seldon Gile. Gile and Gay were the first artists to start a school of painting known as the Society of Six.

Gay, Garden Scene-Gile's Red Chair

Garden Scene-Gile’s Red Chair

The society was comprised of six plein-air painters (Selden Connor Gile, Maurice Logan, William H. Clapp, August F. Gay, Bernard von Eichman, and Louis Siegriest) based out of Oakland, California. The group formed in 1917 and exhibited together for around fifteen years. The group was known for their colorful and modern landscapes of northern California. Art historians generally categorize the Society of Six as American Post-Impressionists.

Gay, The Robert Louis Stevenson House

The Robert Louis Stevenson House

While Gay was closely involved with the Society of Six, he spent most of his time living in Monterey and exhibiting in Oakland. In Monterey Gay shared a studio with Clayton S. Price in a building known as the Stevenson House. Gay most commonly painted the Monterey wharf and other coastal scenes around the Monterey Bay.

Gay, Fishing Boat Aground, 1930

Fishing Boat Aground, 1930

Gay, Hatton Dairy Ranch

Hatton Dairy Ranch

Gay, Street Scene

Street Scene

Gay, Moonshine, Monterey

Moonshine, Monterey

Gay, Moss Landing Salt-works

Moss Landing Salt-works

Gay, Monterey Harbor

Monterey Harbor

Gay, Marin County

Marin County

To support himself during the rough times of the Great Depression, Gay was forced to work at fish factories until the art market rebounded. Gay spent the last years of his life working as a furniture designer and custom framer for the Monterey Guild. While working, Gay continued to paint until his death in 1948. Gay’s popularity continued to grow posthumously. Gay’s paintings are now in major museum collections throughout California. Do you think you may own a painting by August Gay? Contact us. We are the experts on August Gay.