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Nellie Gail Fine Art

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Nellie Gail Moulton’s fine art is in the permanent collections at the Bowers Museum, Festival of Arts, Chapman University, and OC Parks. The series of paintings below are owned by the Moulton family, Gail Family, Moulton Museum, and friends. Please contact us to schedule an in person viewing of the archival collection or to learn more about her work. Nellie’s fine art is on exhibit at Nellie’s Gallery.

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Featured Quote:

“In the legacy left to me, in the name of my husband, in memory of his humanitarianism, I have endeavored, in my donations to community projects, to help, to, hopefully, encourage the spirit of creativeness and enjoyment of the arts, for there is one thing I believe will never fade into oblivion – beauty in literature, painting, music, the drama – no matter how some, for whatever motive, will agitate to bring true talent to ridicule – those who appreciate and know its worth will never let it die.”

— Nellie Gail Moulton​

Nellie Gail Moulton (American, 1878-1972) was a teacher, wife, mother, rancher, philanthropist and artist that lived an extraordinary life to the fullest. She traveled the country and the world multiple times by ground, sea and air. She painted and took photographs along the way. 

The Gail family had a tradition of studying the arts. Nellie stated in her memoir that in the 1890s “Alta and I went to school [in Hebron, Nebraska]. Alta, like mother, strongly and artistically inclined, naturally creative. She excelled in music, took up painting.”(23) Nellie stated that in 1901 while teaching in Port Orchard, Washington, “I began to be deeply interested in the art of painting, taking lessons from her.” In 1902, Nellie was “assigned to a principalship at the Dunlap School, situated in the suburbs of Seattle, along Lake Washington.” (52)

An avid en plein air artist that painted her entire life, Nellie was dedicated to the craft and studied with renowned artists William Wendt, Anna Hills, and Frank Cupien among others. The artists traveled together for paint outs. With the benefit of those influences, along with her keen eye and brilliant use of color, Nellie’s work reflects the rich beauty of nature and landscapes throughout California and beyond. Nellie was a founding member of Laguna’s College of Art + Design. She was President of the Laguna Beach Art Association from 1948-1949. The Laguna Art Association became the Laguna Art Museum. 

Moulton Museum has been collecting and preserving the original works of Nellie Gail Moulton for years. The museum hopes to show the depth of her work in public exhibitions. Moulton Museum has exhibited her sketches which include regional studies of California coastlines to the Grand Canyon side-by-side her final oil on board and canvas creations. She produced artwork for a 35 year span from 1935 to 1970. Nellie moved to Leisure World, which is now Laguna Woods, and painted in her home. Moulton Museum has documented more than 120 paintings to-date.  It is composed of oil on canvas and board. Each painting has been conserved and reframed for exhibition purposes. This treatment extends the lifespan of each piece for future generations to enjoy. The museum maintains a detailed provenance record for each painting and graphite sketch. They have been loaned to the Pasadena Museum of History, Laguna Woods History Center, Casa Romantica, and LCAD Gallery. Nellie Gail Moulton’s fine art is in the permanent collections at the Bowers Museum, Festival of Arts, Chapman University, and OC Parks. 

This fine art collection is featured in Nellie’s Gallery at Moulton Museum as the first exhibition in this space.The series of paintings exhibited are owned by the Moulton family, Gail Family, Moulton Museum, and friends.Through the Eyes of a Pioneer Woman: Nellie Gail Moulton
will be on exhibit at Soka University Founders Hall Art Gallery, will be on exhibit at Soka University from May 18 – September 8, 2023.

Moulton Museum will have an artist-in-residence program starting in 2023. Please inquire for our exhibition schedule. View the exihbit here.