Anders Gustave Aldrin was born in Sweden in 1889. He immigrated to the United States in 1911, moving to Los Angeles in 1923, He attended the Otis Art Institute (1923-1927) where his talents were recognized with a full scholarship. He also was awarded a full scholarship to the Santa Barbara School of the Arts and studied there from 1927 to 1930. He returned to LA and began exhibiting his unusually expressive paintings locally, and was accorded a one-man show at the Los Angeles Museum in 1935. He began to garnish high praise from local artists and critics alike. The Los Angeles Times art critic, Arthur Millier said he was “a quiet local painter who runs in no pack…To him the world is dominantly red and green, but how he makes these colors sing!”
In 1940 he was given a one-man exhibition at Scripps College. Millard Sheets wrote: “The work of this man is a declaration of independence from the styles and manners of his contemporaries and is the most forthright work I have seen produced in California. Strong poetry…flavored with color…free from imitation…solid construction…make his painting as honest as the man himself…he has found the best approach to all art.”
Though he loved Aldrin’s work, noted American art dealer, Frank Rehn (Rehn Gallery) in 1945 reluctantly decided not to carry him as he felt he didn’t have the proper resources and was too committed to his current gallery stable which included Edward Hopper and Charles Burchfield.
Aldrin’s friends included California artists Dan Lutz (1906-1978), Edward Vysekal (1890-1939), John Dominique (1893-1994), and Ross Dickinson (1903-1978). He had been accepted by a jury at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and was considered by Roland McKinney at the museum “the best painter on the West Coast.” Artist Lorser Feitelson (1898-1978) described Aldrin as “the personification of the rarity, the ‘excellent painter,’ the ‘painter’s painter’…His significant contribution to the art of this region is of historic value.”