Born in Bentzen, Germany, and immigrant to Chicago in 1880, Wendt briefly studied at the Art Institute of Chicago whilst employed in a commercial art shop. He made a close friend in the artist Gardner SYMONS, and together they painted in California and Europe, coming to St Ives in 1898.
Though Whybrow mentions his name as having presented a painting 'To my friend, James LANHAM' (as signed on the back of a painting sent on to the RA from an house sale in St Ives), she does not assume he had actually been in the area, although they painted in and around the locality, including Hayle. They returned to the USA fully committed to working in the open air.
He married the American sculptress Julia BRACKEN in 1906 and they moved to Los Angeles. He became the co-founder and the first president of the California Art Club in 1911. Due to his enormous success amongst American artists, and amongst California's best known, he is often referred to as 'The Dean of Southern California.' Both he and Symons were schooled in Impressionism, a style well adapted to the strong, bright colours, atmospheric conditions and special quality of light prevalent in California.
Painter of landscapes and coastal views
California Art Club (Co-founder and first President 1911)
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall p352
Whybrow (1994) St Ives;