In December of 1931, Dorothy and Gardner Hale enthusiastically arrived in California for a six-month stay. Known as one of America's foremost young painters of murals and frescoes, Gardner had been hired to paint numerous murals around the state.
During the holidays, the couple stayed with Gardner's cousin Dorothy McNamee and her husband Luke in Long Beach. On Monday, December 28, 1931, Gardner was driving from Long Beach to San Francisco for a meeting when he was tragically killed in an automobile accident. He was 36-years-old.
Above is a little known print of a Christmas card that Gardner designed for the McNamees during his stay in 1931.
Gardner was a member of the Society of Mural Painters, the ArchitecturalLeague, Salons of America and the Society of Independent Artists. His mural works and paintings were renown throughout Europe and America.
This unexpected tragedy was devastating to Dorothy Hale. She returned to their home in New York City to plan Gardner's funeral. Dorothy found great strength through her love for Gardner. She immediately began orchestrating a memorial exhibition to honor Gardner and his work. This exhibition, curated by Dorothy, would travel through New York, Chicago and San Francisco.