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At Home and Abroad: California Paintings from the Emmons Collection

September 27, 2003 - January 25, 2004


At Home and Abroad: California Paintings from the Emmons Collection highlights a century of significant California artists' paintings at home in California and abroad in Europe. Drawn from a local collection, the exhibition features landscape paintings, cityscapes, and figural paintings from 1905 to the present.

Work done by well-known California artists working in Europe, including Colin Campbell Cooper, Jules Page, and Edgar Payne, demonstrates the influence of foreign travel and study on the California regional tradition. Paintings of California-from a delicate 1924 Percy Gray watercolor of Monterey Bay to Glenna Hartmann's view of Santa Barbara's waterfront on a sparkling Christmas day in 2002- exemplify how California artists have continually found inspiration in the land, atmosphere, light, and color of the Golden State, much as French artists were drawn to Southern France. (right: Colin Campbell Cooper, View of the City and Cathedral at Chartres, 1902)

Other artists in the exhibition include modernists Dan Lutz and Millard Sheets, contemporary painter Harry Carmean, and Oak Group artists Bjorn Rye and Meredith Brooks Abbott. The presence of several generations of painters illustrates the link between regional painters as colleagues, instructors, and students.

Known primarily for their collection of 19th-century French paintings, Robert and Christine Emmons have made California paintings an important and growing subset of their collection. As collectors with a passion for French art, the Emmons recognize the historic dialogue that existed between French and American artists, and they have captured that aesthetic debate within their collection. The thread of this artistic conversation is woven throughout the work in At Home and Abroad.


Following is text from the exhibition gallery guide:

At Home and Abroad presents a century's worth of paintings by California artists who have helped to define a regional painting tradition reflecting the prominent artistic trends of the twentieth century while maintaining the unique inflection of place.
California's dramatic landscape and pleasant climate have long attracted visiting artists. Many have made the state their home, finding inspiration in the land, atmosphere, light, and color of the Golden State.
Despite the charms of the region, California artists frequently traveled, maintaining contact with the artistic centers of Europe, particularly Paris, and participating in the aesthetic debates of their day. Due to the limited availability of fine arts education, native sons and daughters often sought training in the East or in Europe. Even as the quality of arts education improved, artists continued to find travel a valuable adjunct to their training; some spent major portions of their careers working abroad.
As a collection, the work highlights the dialogue that exists amongst California painters - whether painting at home or abroad - and provides an introduction to one of America's most influential regional painting traditions.


RLM Editor's note:

For California overall see Top California Artists; In and Out of California: Travels of American Impressionists, an essay by Deborah Epstein Solon; In and Out of California: The Participatory Nature of Early California Art, an essay by Will South; California Watercolor Painters in Context, an essay by Donelson Hoopes; Regionalism: The California View, an essay by Susan M. Anderson and The Metamorphosis of California Landscape Art, an essay by Rexford E. Brandt.

For Nothern California see The 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition of San Francisco; An Art-Lover's Guide to the Exposition, by Sheldon Cheney (reprint of an entire book covering the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition of 1915); The Art of the Exposition, by Eugen Neuhaus (reprint of an entire book covering the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition of 1915); The Sculpture And Mural Decorations Of The Exposition, by Stella George Stern Perry (reprint of an entire book covering the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition of 1915); Harvey L. Jones' essay Twilight and Reverie: California Tonalist Painting 1890-1930; The Northern Scene and Towards Impressionism in Northern California, essays by Raymond L. Wilson; The Society of Six, an essay by Terry St. John; The San Francisco Art Association, The Santa Cruz Art League and The Carmel Art Association, essays by Betty Hoag McGlynn.

For Southern California read What Made Laguna Beach Special, an essay by Deborah Epstein Solon; the California Art Club; The Land of Sunshine, an essay by William H. Gerdts; Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and the Eucalyptus School in Southern California, by Nancy Dustin Wall Moure; The Development of Southern California Impressionism, Masters of Light, Impressionist Style in Perspective and Landscape Painting in California, essays by Jean Stern; The California Water Color Society: Genesis of an American Style and The Arts in Santa Barbara essays by Janet Blake Dominik; Ranchos: The Oak Group Paints the Santa Barbara Countryside, an essay by Ellen Easton; Continuity and Change: Southern California's Evolving Landscape, an essay by Sarah Vure; Dream and Perspective: American Scene Painting in Southern California, an essay by by Susan M. Anderson; San Diego Beginnings, an essay by Martin E. Petersen; The Development of an Art Community in the Los Angeles Area, an essay by Ruth Westphal, and Hard-Boiled Wonderland, an essay by Julie Joyce.

RLM readers may also enjoy Preserving California's Gold (12/16/99)


Read more articles and essays concerning this source by visiting the sub-index page for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine.

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

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