Mystery Oatfield Hill Artist Identified

Greetings Detectives!

About 15 years ago my wife and I were visited by Inez (Oatfield) West who spent her teenage years in our Oatfield Rd. home, built by her father Phil Oatfield in 1922. During that visit Inez loaned us several Oatfield family photos to be copied, and gave us a postcard-sized duplicate of a painting drawn from the top of Oatfield Hill looking S.E. The name on the bottom of the painting appears to read “Pete Leavstranz 1932”. I scanned this image a while back and it is posted on the OLHD website. I tried to identify this artist but was never able to do so.

Yesterday, when reviewing the emails to our website, I came upon a posting by Jennings Lodge resident Chris Boyd who expressed interest in our group, and added a Declaration of Intent for a “Pete Leavstrand”, indicating that he thought that this was our mystery artist and adding that he thought the “z” on the painting was a stylistic version of a “d”. On this document Pete listed his address as Rt 10, Box 316 in Milwaukie. Upon further investigation I found additional information that supports Chris’s conclusion.

Pete Leavstrand was a landscape artist in the Portland area at least from 1934 through 1937, and it appears that he lived on Oatfield Rd. for part of that time. I have attached several documents which support this, including two pages of a 1935 Declaration of Intent in which he gives his address as Rt 10, Box 316 in Milwaukie – – – the same postal Route no. of John Oatfield – – – and for which John R. Oatfield has served as a witness. I’ve also posted an article in the Oregonian from Aug. 26, 1934, p.13 which speaks of a Pete Leavstrand painting (or paintings) being exhibited at the Portland Museum of Art.

Leavstrand (a.k.a. Per Lovstrand) was born in Sweden and came to the U.S. in 1922, ultimately settling in the Portland by 1928. His daughter, Ruth Edith (a.k.a. Edith Ruth) Leavstrand was listed in the Portland City Directory in 1934. Pete’s name appears in the Oregonian, in association with his paintings, from 1934 through 1937, and he appears in the Portland City Directory from 1929 to 1937. In his Declaration of Intent he states that he had resided in Clackamas Co. since June 1928. Unfortunately I have been unable to find him in any census. Leavstrand obviously knew John and Elsie Oatfield, as John attested to having known him since 1932 in the Declaration of Intent, signed by Oatfield in 1937. John and Elsie Oatfield owned Oatfield Hill by then. I’ve yet to find any online evidence of Leavstrand after 1937.

More research would have to be done to determine exactly where Pete lived while in our area and what became of him. The Portland Art Museum might have something about him. But there can be no doubt that this is our mystery artist.

THANK YOU, Chris, for the tip! ANOTHER MYSTERY SOLVED!

Mike Schmeer

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