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Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey

February 11 -May 6, 2012

The Crocker Art Museum will present a career-spanning retrospective of the work of Edgar Payne (1883-1947), one of the most gifted of California's early plein-air artists, in the exhibition Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey. This exhibition features nearly 100 paintings and drawings, as well as photographs and objects from the artist's studio. The exhibition will be on view at the Crocker from February 11 through May 6, 2012 before traveling to additional venues in Pasadena, California and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The exhibition was curated by Shields and organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art. (right: Edgar Payne, Sunset, Canyon de Chelly, 1916. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 inches. Mark C. Pigott Collection)

Payne utilized the animated brushwork, vibrant palette, and shimmering light of Impressionism, but his powerful imagery was unique among artists of his generation. While his contemporaries favored a quieter, more idyllic representation of the natural landscape, Payne was devoted to subjects of rugged beauty. His majestic, vital landscapes are informed by his reverence for the natural world. This exhibition traces Payne's artistic development as he traveled the world in search of magnificent settings: the Southern and Central California coast, the Sierra, the Swiss Alps, the harbors and waterways of France and Italy, and the desert Southwest.

"In the course of his painting expeditions, Payne was determined to rediscover a broad and epic landscape that captured and conveyed the 'unspeakably sublime,'" said Scott A. Shields, Ph.D., the exhibition's curator and associate director and chief curator at the Crocker Art Museum. "In each locale, he sought vitality, bigness, nobility, and grandeur, which he turned into unified, carefully calculated compositions with brushwork that seemed to pulsate with life."

Born in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri in 1883, Payne began his art career by painting signs, stage sets, and murals. He considered himself completely self-taught -- his training lasted only two weeks at the Chicago Art Institute -- and believed that nature was his best teacher. Payne ultimately settled in California and from there travelled widely. He exhibited at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, was commissioned by the Santa Fe Railroad to create paintings of the Southwest, won an honorable mention at the Paris Salon, and became a founding member of the Laguna Beach Art Association.

A 272-page, full-color catalogue published by Pomegranate Communications accompanies the exhibition and includes essays by Shields; Lisa N. Peters, director of research and publications at Spanierman Gallery, New York; Peter Hassrick, director emeritus of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the Denver Art Museum and of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; and Jean Stern, executive director of The Irvine Museum. Also included is an introduction by Patricia Trenton, senior advisor for the Edgar Payne project, and a preface by Jenkins Shannon, executive director of the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

After debuting at the Crocker, the exhibition will be on display at the Pasadena Museum of California Art from June 3 to October 14, 2012 and the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma, from December 1, 2012 to March 24, 2013.


(above: Edgar Payne, Breton Tuna Boats, Concarneau, France, c. 1924. Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches. Private collection)

 

(above: Edgar Payne, Sycamore in Autumn, Orange County Park, c. 1917. Oil on board, 32 x 42 inches. Private collection. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum)

 

Wall text from the exhibition

One of the most gifted of the historic California plein-air painters, Edgar Alwin Payne (1883-1947) utilized the animated brushwork, vibrant palette, and shimmering light of Impressionism, but his powerful imagery was unique among artists of his generation. While his contemporaries favored a quieter, more idyllic representation of the natural landscape, Payne was devoted to subjects of rugged beauty. Largely self-taught, he found inspiration and instruction in nature itself. His majestic, vital landscapes, informed by his reverence for the natural world, are imbued with an internal force and an active dynamism.

Payne's unending quest to convey the "unspeakably sublime" led him to travel the world, and in the course of his painting expeditions he covered some 100,000 miles throughout the United States and Europe. He was among the first painters to capture the vigor of Southern California's Sierra Nevada, and his travels through the Southwest resulted in equally magnificent depictions of the desert. In Europe, he rendered the towering peaks of the Alps and the colorful harbors of France and Italy. These landscapes and seascapes won him widespread acclaim, leading one prominent critic of the era to call him a "poet who sings in colors."

Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey was organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

 


Checklist from the exhibition

1. Edgar Payne, Adriatic Cargo Boats, Chioggia, Italy, c. 1923. Oil on canvas, 421/2 x
421/2 in. Collection of D. L. Stuart Jr.
 
2. Edgar Payne, Along the Riviera, Menton, France, 1922. Oil on canvas, 29 x 29 in. Collection of James Taylor and Gary Conway.
 
3. Edgar Payne, Alpine Village-Switzerland, c. 1922. Oil on canvas, 42 x 42 in. Weinstein Family Trust.
 
4. Edgar Payne, Arched Trees, n.d. Pencil on paper, 8 x 10 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jon R. Stuart.
 
5. Edgar Payne, Arizona Clouds, n.d. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Collection of Paul and Kathleen Bagley.
 
6. Edgar Payne, The Bay of Avalon, 1911. Oil on canvas, 33 x 42 in. The Edward H. and Yvonne J. Boseker Collection.
 
7. Edgar Payne, Blue Canyon, after 1929. Oil on canvas, 34 x 34 in. Private collection.
 
8. Edgar Payne, Breton Fishermen Unloading Fish, c. 1928. Photograph. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
9. Edgar Payne, Breton Tuna Boats, Concarneau, France, c. 1924. Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 in. Private collection.
 
10. Edgar Payne, Brittany Boats, c. 1924. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Private collection.
 
11. Edgar Payne, Brittany Boats, c. 1924. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in. Robert and Nadine Hall Collection.
 
12. Edgar Payne, Brittany Boats, c. 1924. Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 in. Collection of D. L. Stuart Jr.
 
13. Edgar Payne, Brittany Harbor, c. 1924. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Courtesy of Redfern Gallery.
 
14. Edgar Payne, Burning the Hogan, c. 1930s. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Courtesy of Arizona West Galleries.
 
15. Edgar Payne, Canyon de Chelly, n.d. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Private collection
 
16. Edgar Payne, Canyon de Chelly, n.d. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Courtesy of the Springville Museum of Art, _Springville, Utah.
 
17. Edgar Payne, Canyon de Chelly, 1916. Oil on canvas, 27 1/2 x 33 1/4 in. Courtesy of the National Park Service, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, HUTR 5279.
 
18. Edgar Payne, Canyon Mission Viejo, Capistrano, n.d. Oil on canvas, 24 x 28 in. Private collection. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum.
 
19. Edgar Payne, Canyon Riders, n.d. Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in. Collection of Reed and Chris Halladay.
 
20. Edgar Payne, Capistrano Canyon, n.d. Oil on canvas, 24 x 28 in. Private collection. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum.
 
21. Edgar Payne, Capistrano Canyon, n.d. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Private collection. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum.
 
22. Edgar Payne, Cargo Boats, Chioggia, Italy, 1923. Oil on canvas, 43 x 43 in. The Buck Collection, Laguna Beach, California.
 
23. Edgar Payne, Carved frame for When the Tide Is Low, Laguna Beach, n.d. Wood, 12 x 16 in. Collection of Simon K. Chiu.
 
24. Edgar Payne, Château de Montrésor [Loire Valley, France], c. 1924. Oil on canvas,
29 x 29 in. Collection of Betty Goldfield.
 
25. Edgar Payne, Château on the Way to Brittany, n.d. Pencil on paper, 10 x 10 in. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
26. Edgar Payne, Chioggia Boats, n.d. Photograph. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
27. Edgar Payne, Chioggia Boats at Home [Italy], n.d. Pencil on paper, 10 x 12 in. Collection of Ruth and Robert Mirvis.
 
28. Edgar Payne, Composition Study for Navajo Horsemen, after 1929. Pencil on paper, 12 x
17 in. Collection of Ruth and Robert Mirvis.
 
29. Edgar Payne, Desert Cloud Study, n.d. Pencil on paper, 8 x 10 in. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
30. Edgar Payne's Ginger Jar with Pencils and Brushes, n.d. Ceramic, 5 x 4 x 4 in. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
31. Edgar Payne, Eternal Surge, c. 1920. Oil on canvas, 34 x 54 in. Laguna Art Museum Collection, Museum purchase with funds from prior gift of Louis Outerbridge, 2002.009.
 
32. Edgar Payne, Eucalypti, n.d. Pencil on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jon R. Stuart.
 
33. Edgar Payne, Fifth Lake [High Sierra], c. 1928. Oil on canvas, 40 3/8 x 50 1/4 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design, 1957.10.6.
 
34. Edgar Payne, Fishermen's Wives Bargaining, Breton Scene, Concarneau, 1924. Oil on canvas, 32 x 42 in. Payton Family Collection.
 
35. Edgar Payne, Flowers [Ranunculus], 1937. Oil on canvas on board, 16 x 20 in. Private collection. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
36. Edgar Payne, The Grand Canyon, n.d. Pencil on paper, 8 x 10 1/2 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jon R. Stuart.
 
37. Edgar Payne, Le Grand Pic Blanc, 1922. Oil on canvas, 43 x 43 in. The Ruth Stoever-Fleming Collection of _Southern California Art.
 
38. Edgar Payne, Granite Slopes, 1920-1921. Oil on canvas, 34 x 34 in. Private collection. Courtesy of George Stern Fine Arts.
 
39. Edgar Payne, The Great White Peak [Mt. Blanc, France], 1924. Oil on canvas, 62 x 62 in.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of James N. and Linda S. Ries in memory of _Harold and Dorothy Shrier, M.2000.181.
 
40. Edgar Payne, Les Haut Sierra [High Sierra], c. 1922. Oil on canvas, 43 x 43 in. Courtesy of Redfern Gallery.
 
41. Edgar Payne, Hexagonal Table, n.d. Wood, 32 x 30 x 30 in. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
42. Edgar Payne, Hills in California, n.d. Pencil on paper, 8 x 10 in. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
43. Edgar Payne, Hills of Altadena, 1917-1919. Oil on canvas, 36 x 45 in. Steven Stern Collection.
 
44. Edgar Payne, The Homeport, Concarneau, c. 1924. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Collection of Paul and Kathleen Bagley.
 
45. Edgar Payne, Idea Drawing for a Wood Sculpture, c. 1925. Pencil on paper, 11 x 9 in. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
46. Edgar Payne, Indians in Canyon, n.d. Pencil on paper, 8 x 10 in. Collection of Ruth and Robert Mirvis.
 
47. Edgar Payne, In the Canal, Chioggia, c. 1923. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Courtesy of William A. Karges Fine Art.
 
48. Edgar Payne, Italian Boats at Harbor, c. 1923. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Payton Family Collection.
 
49. Edgar Payne, Italian Cargo Boat, Chioggia, Italy, n.d. Photograph. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
50. Edgar Payne, The Jungfrau, 1923-1924. Oil on canvas, 62 x 62 in. Collection of Paul and Kathleen Bagley.
 
51. Edgar Payne, Laguna Coastline, n.d. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Private collection. Courtesy of William A. Karges Fine Arts.
 
52. Edgar Payne, Lake Louise, c. 1929. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Collection of Thomas T. Tatum.
 
53. Edgar Payne, Marco Polo Relic, Adriatic (Thus Did We Sail for the Doge) [Italy], 1923­1924. Oil on canvas, 42 x 42 in. Collection of Ruth and Robert Mirvis.
 
54. Edgar Payne, The Matterhorn from Zermatt, c. 1923. Oil on canvas, 52 1/2 x 48 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jon R. Stuart.
 
55. Edgar Payne, Matterhorn, Late Afternoon, c. 1923. Oil on canvas, 53 x 53 in. Collection of Harry Parashis.
 
56. Edgar Payne, Model of Breton Tuna Boat (Yawl), c. 1925. Painted wood and metal, 44 x 34 x 12 in. Collection of Mark Sauer.
 
57. Edgar Payne, Monterey Cypress, c. 1921. Oil on canvas, 15 x 18 in. Barnett Family Collection.
 
58. Edgar Payne, Monument Valley, 1930s. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Courtesy of Edenhurst Gallery.
 
59. Edgar Payne, Monument Valley, Riverbed, after 1929. Oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 30 1/4 in. Private collection. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum.
 
60. Edgar Payne, Mountains in Switzerland, c. 1922-1923. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
61. Edgar Payne, Mt. Ritter and Lake Ediza, n.d. Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jon R. Stuart.
 
62. Edgar Payne, Navajo Country, n.d. Oil on canvas, 32 x 40 in. Collection of Paul and Kathleen Bagley.
 
63. Edgar Payne, Navajo Riders, after 1929. Oil on canvas, 32 x 40 in. Collection of Charles D. Miller.
 
64. Edgar Payne, Navajo Riders on Horseback, after 1929. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Collection of Reed and Chris Halladay.
 
65. Edgar Payne, Navajos, after 1929. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Private collection. Courtesy of William A. Karges Fine Art.
 
66. Edgar Payne, Navajo Stronghold, 1930s. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Collection of Gilbert and Nancy Waldman.
 
67. Edgar Payne, Near Sabrina, n.d. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in. Collection of Mr. John Mutch. Courtesy of Redfern Gallery.
 
68. Edgar Payne, Packing in the Sierra, n.d. Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 in. Collection of Bette Midler.
 
69. Edgar Payne, Pack Train in the High Sierra, 1930s. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in. Collection of Gilbert and Nancy Waldman. Courtesy of John R. Howard Fine Art.
 
70. Edgar Payne, Painted place cards: Crashing Surf, Meadow, High Sierra, presented to guests at banquet dinner hosted by the Stendahl Galleries, May 22, 1922. Oil on board, each 2 1/4 x 3 3/4 in. Collection of Jean and Linda Stern.
 
71. Edgar Payne, Profile View of Seated Navajo, 1920s. Photograph. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
72. Edgar Payne, The Race, 1922. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Private collection. Courtesy of Trotter Galleries.
 
73. Edgar Payne, Red Mesa, Monument Valley, Utah, c. 1935. Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in. Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, _ Salt Lake City, Utah, purchased with funds from the Phyllis Canon Wattis Endowment for Modern and Contemporary Art, _and Diane and Sam Stewart.
 
74. Edgar Payne, The Rendezvous (Santa Cruz Island, CA), 1915. Oil on canvas, 33 x 42 in. Private collection.
 
75. Edgar Payne, Restless Sea, 1917 Oil on canvas, 43 x 51 in. Indianapolis Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. James Sweetser, 17.66.
 
76. Edgar Payne, Rugged Slopes and Tamarack, c. 1919. Oil on board, 45 x 45 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Stiles II.
 
77. Edgar Payne, Sculpture ("Bird House"), c. 1925. Painted wood, 60 x 24 x 24 in. Collection of Thomas T. Tatum.
 
78. Edgar Payne, Sentinels of the Coast, Monterey, 1921. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum.
 
79. Edgar Payne, Shadowed Butte, n.d. Pencil on paper, 11 x 11 in. Robert Giem Collection.
 
80. Edgar Payne, Sierra Peak, n.d. Pencil on paper, 8 x 9 in. Collection of John and Judith Ibbetson.
 
81. Edgar Payne, Sierra Peaks, c. 1919. Oil on canvas, 42 x 42 in. Collection of D. L. Stuart Jr.
 
82. Edgar Payne, Sketchbook, n.d. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jon R. Stuart.
 
83. Edgar Payne, Small Chest, n.d. Wood, 16 x 27 x 15 in. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
84. Edgar Payne, Solitude's Enchantment, 1921. Oil on canvas, 43 x 43 in. Courtesy of Edenhurst Gallery.
 
85. Edgar Payne, South Rim, Grand Canyon, after 1929. Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in. J. Dutra Collection.
 
86. Edgar Payne, Stream in the Canyon, n.d. Pencil on paper, 8 x 101/2 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jon R. Stuart.
 
87. Edgar Payne, Sunflowers, n.d. Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 in. J. Dutra Collection.
 
88. Edgar Payne, Sunset, Canyon de Chelly, 1916. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Mark C. Pigott Collection.
 
89. Edgar Payne, Sunset in the Foothills, n.d. Oil on canvas, 321/2 x 391/2 in. Collection of
D. L. Stuart Jr.
 
90. Edgar Payne, Swiss Village [Spiez Castle on Lake Thun], c. 1923. Oil on canvas, 28 x 34 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jon R. Stuart.
 
91. Edgar Payne, Sycamore Grove, n.d. Pencil on paper, 8 x 10 in. Collection of Mr. and
Mrs. Jon R. Stuart.
 
92. Edgar Payne, Sycamore in Autumn, Orange County Park, c. 1917. Oil on board, 32 x 42 in. Private collection. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum.
 
93. Edgar Payne, Three Navajo Riders, c. 1930. Photograph. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
94. Edgar Payne, Timber Line, n.d. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in. Collection of Linda and Jim Freund.
 
95. Edgar Payne, Topmost Crags, 1921. Oil on canvas, 31 x 36 in. Private collection.
 
96. Edgar Payne, The Topmost Sierra, c. 1921 Oil on canvas, 43 x 43 in. W. C. Foxley Collection.
 
97. Edgar Payne, Transition from Covered Wagon to Automobile in Navajo Country, 1920s. Photograph. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
98. Edgar Payne, Tuna Boats, Concarneau, c. 1924. Pencil on paper, 8 x 10 in. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
99. Edgar Payne, Tuna Fisherman, Concarneau, c. 1924. Oil on canvas, 29 x 29 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Stiles II.
 
100. Edgar Payne, Tuna Yawls, Brittany, France, c. 1924. Photograph. Courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts.
 
101. Edgar Payne, Two Indians in Southwest Landscape, after 1929. Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Stiles II.
 
102. Edgar Payne, Unloading Fish, Concarneau, c. 1924. Oil on canvas, 24 x 28 in. The Edward H. and Yvonne J. Boseker Collection.
 
103. Edgar Payne, Untitled [Clouds and Riders], n.d. Oil on canvas, 21 1/2 x 21 1/2 in. Collection of D. L. Stuart Jr.
 
104. Edgar Payne, Untitled [Eucalypti], n.d. Oil on canvas, 28 x 32 in. Collection of Reed and Chris Halladay.
 
105. Edgar Payne, Untitled [Eucalyptus Landscape, California], n.d. Oil on canvas, 32 x 40 in. Private collection.
 
106. Edgar Payne, Untitled [Laguna Coastal Scene], n.d. Oil on canvas, 33 x 42 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Mrs. Charles G. Johnson, conserved with funds provided by the Historical Collections Council of California Art.
 
107. Edgar Payne, Untitled [Laguna Seascape], c. 1918. Oil on canvas, 43 1/16 x 43 1/8 in. Collection of D. L. Stuart Jr.
 
108. Edgar Payne, The Valley Village, 1923. Oil on canvas on board, 29 x 29 in. Collection of Thomas T. Tatum.
 
109. Edgar Payne, Venetian Boats, c. 1923. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Stiles II.
 
110. Edgar Payne, A View of the Glacial Path, n.d. Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 in. Payton Family Collection.
 
111. Edgar Payne, Wine Boats, Menton, c. 1923. Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 in. The James Irvine Swinden Family Collection.

 


Resource Library
editor's note

The above ArtLetter article was reprinted in Resource Library with permission of the Crocker Art Museum, granted to TFAO on July 6, 2011. Resource Library wishes to extend appreciation to Kathleen Richards and Michele Roberts of the Crocker Art Museum for their help concerning permission for reprinting the above article

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