top of page


"Chavez Ravine"

"Chavez Ravine"

11 1/2" x 17", Watercolor on Paper 20142

Paul Starrett Sample (1896-1974)

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Paul Sample established his reputation as a Regionalist landscape, figure and genre painter, particularly of New England subject matter.


He studied at Dartmouth College, where he was an outstanding athlete, particularly a boxer, and a good saxophonist, and reportedly slept through his art appreciation courses.  He spent the last year of World War I in the Navy and returned to Dartmouth to graduate. Shortly afterwards, he got tuberculosis, which led him to art because it was a more sedentary activity than his previous pursuits.


In 1925, he moved to California and enrolled at the Otis Art Institute where his teacher was Jonas Lie, and he took private lessons from Stanton MacDonald-Wright and Frank Tolles Chamberlin.  By 1926, he was a faculty member at the University of Southern California, where he then chaired the art department.  His quick acceptance launched his career; he spent his summers painting in Maine and Vermont.

During this time, he developed his unique style inspired by the Dutch master Pieter Bruegel the Elder and by influences of the American-Depression art movement called "Regionalism," an affirmation of American life.


In 1938, he moved permanently to New England and became artist-in- residence at Dartmouth College.  He lived with his wife and son in Norwich, Vermont, while maintaining his studio in Hanover, New Hampshire.  In 1940, he was elected to the National Academy of Design, where he had already won many exhibition prizes, and major museums and collectors obtained his work.


During World War II, he also did illustrating of naval activities for Life magazine.  After the War and until he retired in 1962, he did numerous New England landscapes as well as murals, portraits, and illustration ads.

Sample worked in a regionalist style, with life in rural New England, especially Vermont, dominating his oeuvre.  During his career, Sample exhibited with Feragil Galleries and then Associated American Artists and Vose Galleries in Boston.  He also exhibited frequently at the National Academy, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Carnegie Institute, and the Worcester Museum.  He had many other successful solo and group shows during his long career.


Paul Sample died at his home in Norwich, Vermont in 1974.



Edan Hughes, Artists in California 1786-1940

Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art

McClelland and Jay Last, The California Style

Biography adapted from the Caldwell Gallery biography.



bottom of page