Gordon Coutts was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1868. He began his studies
there and then continued at the Julian Academy in Paris. While in Paris, he
married his fellow student, Alice Gray. After completing their studies in Paris,
the couple moved to Alice’s home in Melbourne, Australia where they lived
and worked for several years. Coutts then taught at the Art Society of New
South Wales in Sydney. After some success in Australia, he exhibited in the
Royal Academy in London. Soon after, he and Alice moved to San Francisco.
They lived in the East Bay Hills and Coutts was a member of San Francisco’s
Bohemian Club. Alice divorced Coutts in 1918 and he then moved to North
Africa where he painted some exotic landscapes of the desert and its people.
In 1925, he contracted tuberculosis and moved to Palm Springs. He built a
desert Moroccan castle for himself, modeled in the motif of castles he had
seen in Tangiers, and named it “Dar Marroc”. Today, his former home is in a
historic hotel called Korakia. When it was owned by Coutts, it was a center of Palm Springs culture, with visiting artist friends such as Nikolai Fechin and
Grant Wood. Winston Churchill and Rudolph Valentino were said to have picked up a brush in the Dar Marroc studio as well. Coutts died on February 21, 1937, in California