Tuesday, March 19, 2013

California Scene Paintings

Phil Paradise, Ranch Near San Luis Obispo, ca. 1935. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 inches. The Buck Collection, Laguna Beach, California.

I saw Gordon McLelland in Pasadena two sunday's ago and he urged me to visit this new exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.  Gordon is a noted author and a seminal figure in the renaissance of appreciation for California art, a man I have known and done business with since the middle seventies. He tells me that they have really pulled out all the stops for this one, securing a stellar group of paintings out of private collections that will likely never be exposed again to the public at large en masse. A must see.

Gordon curated the show and is going to be giving a talk regarding the paintings this sunday, March 24th at 3:00. I am going to try to make it. The following blurb is from the museum website:

Part of the larger Regionalist art movement of the 1930s-1960s era, California Scene Painting—a term first used by Los Angeles Times art critic Arthur Millier—describes representational art that captured scenes of everyday life in California. Through the New Deal, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) assisted struggling artists by providing them with wages to create artworks for government buildings and public places intended to uplift the nation's spirits amidst the Great Depression. California Scene Paintings from 1930 to 1960 documents much of this period in California history through works that depict local city and rural scenes, particularly in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco, which were rapidly expanding during that time.

Characterized by a sense of humanity, the works in the exhibition typically include people or representations of man-made creations. The California Scene artists related what they saw around them: people going about their everyday lives, factories, a growing car culture, ranches and agrarian communities. Despite a shifting interest toward abstract and non-objective art during the 1950s, practitioners of California Scene Painting continued to create artworks documenting developments in California history, such as the building of freeways and the formation of California beach culture.
The exhibition features close to 75 artworks, including oil paintings, watercolors, drawings and prints created in the decades when this was California's most celebrated type of art. Some of the works in this exhibition were included in 1930s and 1940s exhibitions of Regionalist, American Scene, and WPA art in major museums across America. Works by key artists are featured in the exhibition, including Phil Dike, Emil Kosa Jr., Phil Paradise, Millard Sheets, Paul Sample, Ben Messick, Rex Brandt, and Dong Kingman. A large format book, titled California Scene Paintings, accompanies the exhibition and visually documents artworks from this period and connects them to California's history.

This exhibition is curated by Gordon T. McClelland. This exhibition is supported by Mark and Janet Hilbert, Hilbert Properties, Bente and Gerald E. Buck, Simon Chiu, George Stern Fine Arts, and The Historical Collections Council of California Art. Additional support is provided by E. Gene Crain, Whitney Ganz, William A. Karges, Pamela and Glen Knowles, Diane and Van Simmons, Michael and Mandy Johnson, Jeff Olsen, Fred Thompson, Bonhams & Butterfields, John Moran Auctioneers, and Claremont Fine Arts.
Pasadena Museum of California Art490 East Union Street, Pasadena, CA 91101 626.568.3665 info@pmcaonline.org
MUSEUM HOURSWednesday–Sunday12–5pm The Museum is closed July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
ADMISSION $7 for Adults$5 for Seniors and Students Free to Members Free the first Friday of the month (all day)Free the third Thursday of the month (5–8pm)
*Special offer with the Pacific Asia Museum on Colorado and Los Robles: Attend both museums in the same day and receive 50% off admission at the second museum when you present proof of entrance.
LOCATION AND PARKING The museum is located one block north of Colorado Blvd. between Los Robles Ave. and Oakland Ave. Free parking is available on the ground level of the museum and additional public parking is available across the street on Union.


grumpy said...

thanks for the tip...i've seen many great shows at this museum.

Sanoguy said...

This sounds like a great show... I am no art expert, but, this is my favorite kind of art. Being a 3rd generation Californian, I am very fond of the depiction of old California. I often times think that I would like to go back to the simpler times depicted in these paintings. .... Of course, knowing what I know now.

I hope to see the show!