Esther Painter Hagstrom
Black and white photograph of Esther Painter Hagstrom
from Coronado High School's 1951 yearbook dedicated to her
Esther Painter Hagstrom was born and raised in Walla Walla, Washington, near the wheat ranch owned and operated by her grandparents. She earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1927 from the University of Washington.
After graduation she married a U.S. Navy officer; and they moved to Hawaii, where she did graduate work at the University of Hawaii. The marriage did not last, and she returned to the mainland with her young son -- becoming a single parent decades before that situation was common.
Before settling in Coronado in 1936, Esther Painter Hagstrom continued her graduate studies in art at the University of Southern California, the University of California Berkeley and the San Francisco Art Institute.
In Coronado, Esther Painter Hagstrom rented a studio and gave private art lessons. The Coronado School District employed her in 1937. She taught art at Coronado High School from 1939 until her premature death in 1951. During that time she was in charge of art curriculum for the school district.
Esther Painter Hagstrom served as exhibitions chairman for the Coronado Art Association. She was a member of the San Diego Art Guild, the San Diego Fine Arts Society and the Art Center in La Jolla. She created in all different media, including sculpture, ceramics, oils and jewelry design, but she specialized in watercolors and etchings. She participated in numerous art workshops and seminars, studying under such well known artists as Dong Kingman and Rex Brandt.
Esther Painter Hagstrom died in January 1951 at age 46 of a cerebral hemorrhage. Hundreds of people attended her memorial service, which was held in Coronado High School’s auditorium. The class of 1951 dedicated its yearbook to her.