Betty Guy, a beloved, internationally-renowned watercolor artist and San Francisco native, has died. She was 95.
Guy, who passed away on July 22 at her home in Bernal Heights, was the house artist for the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet right up to her death, and counted John Steinbeck and England's Queen Elizabeth II as fans.
"Betty was an incredible chronicler of the artistic richness of San Francisco Opera," Matthew Shilvock, San Francisco Opera's general director, said. "Over decades she told in painting the story of our stage, and did so quietly but with humor and incredible heart. She always had a smile (and a kiss) for you and in that smile was everything good about San Francisco Opera. We miss her deeply."
Born in San Francisco in 1920, Guy developed her painting style while attending UC Berkeley and later, the L'Académie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, France. Her big break came in 1961, when her show at San Francisco's Legion of Honor was described as being "the most delightful show of the year" by San Francisco Chronicle art critic Alfred Frankenstein.
Guy went on to exhibit all over the world, and to work for institutions such as the San Francisco Symphony, the Port of San Francisco and Royal Viking Cruise lines, among others. For three decades she was an in-house artist at the high-end department store Gump's, making her the artist who worked there the longest.