This watercolor, titled the San Emidio, was done by artist Howard Fogg and depicts the wooden business car end of a passenger train in the high Sierras, Emigrant Gap, California, around 1902.
Fogg (1917-1996) was a prolific painter of trains and railroads throughout the twentieth century. After serving as a pilot in World War II, he worked as the company artist for the American Locomotive Company, which began his nearly fifty-year-long career painting railroad imagery. His collaboration with Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg began in 1947 when they featured his painting on the cover of their book, Mixed Trains Daily.
This painting and others from the collection of Howard Fogg works once belonged to Beebe and Clegg, who were both notable travel writers. Partners in life and business, they were known for exploring the country in their private rail car. The works of Howard Fogg, Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg were all an integral part of railroad culture in the twentieth century.
Fogg was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1938 with a degree in English Literature, and then attended the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts with the intention of becoming a cartoonist. After being drafted in 1941, Fogg served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps in World War II. Following the war, he began working for the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) as their company artist. He soon met travel writer Lucius Beebe, and in 1947 Beebe used Fogg’s painting for the cover of his book, Mixed Train Daily. Over the course of the following decades, Fogg made a career of painting images of trains and railroads, both for railroad companies and private commissions.
Lucius Beebe was born in 1902 in Wakefield, Massachusetts to a prominent New England family. He attended Yale and the Harvard, he began his career as a contributor to the New York Herald Tribune. In 1941, he met his life partner, Charles Clegg, at a party at the home of D.C socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean. Clegg also came from an affluent family and studied photography. Together, the two collaborated on several publications, the first being Mixed Trains Daily. In 1952, Beebe and Clegg moved to Virginia City, Nevada and revived the newspaper the Territorial Enterprise. Together they wrote for the editorial section and had a column in the paper. They traveled the country in their private railroad car and wrote a number of books about their travels, the American West, and railroads. Beebe and Clegg sold their newspaper in 1960 and lived the rest of their lives together in San Francisco. Beebe died of a heart attack in 1966 and Clegg committed suicide in 1979 on the day he turned the exact age that Beebe was when he died. Following his death, Clegg’s sister donated his papers, photographs, and collected works of art to various museums, including the Smithsonian.
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