Born in Racine, Wisconsin, Elizabeth Putnam Borglum became a painter early in her career of still lifes, especially grapes, and of portraits and animals. However, in the early 1900s, she turned increasingly to landscape painting, especially views of Southern California including San Juan Capistrano, which has one of her paintings in the collection. She also painted in Monterey and Santa Barbara.
Her parents were Isaac and Julia Nelson (Collins) Janes. Elizabeth Borglum first took her art training in Boston and then studied music in New York City at Miss Graham’s School. She began her art studies at the school in 1875 with teacher Charles W. Knudsen.
She then returned to Wisconsin where she taught music near Milwaukee. In 1884, she moved to Los Angeles, California, and the next year began art study with William Keith. There she met Gutzon Borglum, who was also a student of Keith’s and who ultimately become famous for his portrait stone carvings on Mount Rushmore. The couple married in Los Angeles in 1889, and for the next ten years she and her husband traveled widely in Europe. In London, she studied with California painter Emil Carlsen.
In Paris, she studied with Felix Hildago. The couple also purchased a home, “El Rosario”, in Sierra Madre, California in 1893, and she occupied this residence during and after she and Borglum separated in 1903 and divorced in 1908.
She continued her art career in the Los Angeles area, painting and teaching and taking classes from J. Foxcroft Cole. In 1915, she moved to Venice, California.
Among her paintings are Rain Storm on Sierra Madre Mountains; Sycamore Mountains, and Poplar Drive in Baldwin Ranch.
Exhibition venues included the Western Art Association, Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, San Francisco Art Association and the Southern California-Panama Exposition in San Diego.