Elmer Ginzel Plummer was born in Redlands, California on November 6, 1910. When Plummer was still a young boy, he became friends with future fellow Walt Disney animators Preston and Lee Blair. Lee Blair also served as President of the California Watercolor Society. As a teenager Plummer was sent to military school in San Diego. He later studied watercolor painting in high school and attended the Chouinard Art Institute in the 1920’s on a scholarship where his teachers were Millard Sheets and Clarence Hinkle. While he was still a student at Chouinard, Plummer was chosen to be one of the assistants to David Alfaro Siqueiros, who designed a mural for the art school’s courtyard. Plummer became a close friend of Walt Disney and developed many of the comedic ideas for such cartoons as Goofy. He also contributed to the production Fantasia, Dumbo, and the Three Caballeros. In the 1930’s Plummer began to produce some very fine watercolors in the California Regionalist Style of painting. He sold them at Los Angeles area art galleries as well as at various art shows along the west coast. He also created watercolors for the Works Progress Administration, while still exhibiting his artwork extensively. After service in World War II Plummer returned to the Disney Studios and taught at Chouinard Art Institute. He continued to paint, but he no longer exhibited his art work after 1945. Plummer passed away in 1987.
Skimmed Milk is a typical example of the Southern California Regionalist style of painting for which Elmer Ginzel Plummer is best remembered. An inexhaustible exhibitor of his art before the advent of World War II Plummer was a veteran exhibitor in and around the Los Angeles area as well as at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His day job found him at the Walt Disney Studios as a cartoon animator of such iconic movies as Dumbo and Fantasia. Works such as Skimmed Milk tell the story of ordinary folks performing daily tasks in the hot California sunshine. Bright colors that are associated with warm climates delineate the red roof of a building at the dairy farm, while vivid blues are used for the laborer's work pants and milk bucket. A regionalist work in the style and format of a Thomas Hart Benton or a John Steuart Curry during the potential difficult WPA years make this work an outstanding example.
David Allen Fine Arts
Private Collection, Armonk, New York
Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Los Angeles County Fair, 1932, First Prize