Originally trained as an architect by his father, Arthur F. Mathews eventually shifted his focus to painting, where his architectural training informed his work. He traveled to Paris in 1884 to study at the Acad¨¦mie Julian until 1889. He moved to California in the late 1880s and completed several public mural commissions in Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco. Mathews was the directodirector of the California School of Design from 1889 to 1906. He and his wife, Lucia, eventually settled in San Francisco, where, beginning in 1906, they popularized the "California Decorative Style," an outgrowth of the Arts and Crafts Movement. This was achieved through their magazine, Philopolis, and their gallery, called the Furniture Shop. Mathews died in San Francisco in 1945.