Biography: Dan Sayre Groesbeck (1879-1950) was a primarily self-taught California artist. By 1900, he was working as an illustrator for the Los Angeles Morning Herald; his early work appeared in Pearson's Magazine, American Magazine, Collier's, and the Illustrated Sunday Magazine.
Groesbeck served with the Canadian armed forces in Russia in 1918-1919. His experiences there served as an inspiration for a variety of paintings upon his return to Los Angeles in 1919. The glittering array of brass and gilt candle sticks and religious icons in the Museum's painting appears to be related to other images Groesbeck painted of his visit to a Russian monetary.
By 1923, Groesbeck began to work as a concept artist for director Cecil B. DeMille at Paramount Studios. In this capacity, he created paintings based on DeMille's descriptions of costumes, dramatic scenes for sets, and physical types for actors. Many of these images seem influenced by the illustrations of Howard Pyle and N. C. Wyeth. Most of concept work was in charcoal, pastel, watercolor, and gouache and the drawings
Groesbeck worked on several DeMille films, including The Ten Commandments, 1923; The Volga Boatman, 1926; The King of Kings, 1927; The Buccaneer, 1938; Union Pacific, 1939; Reap the Wild Wind, 1942; Unconquered, 1947, and Samson and Delilah, 1949.
In the 1920s Groesbeck also painted a variety of murals. In 1925 he painted scenes of early California history for the Del Monte Hotel in Monterey. In 1929 he produced another overview of California history for the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.
The primary holders of much of Groesbeck's paintings are the Brigham Young University Film Archive and the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation.
Delaware Art Museum archives