California Art History

with an emphasis on representational art


Books, listed by year of publication, with most recently published book listed first:


Please see California art books and the following books, listed by date of publication, with most recently published listed first:


Sudden and Solitary: Mount Shasta and Its Artistic Legacy, 1841-2008, By William C. Miesse with Robyn G. Peterson. says regarding the book: "Sudden and Solitary presents more than 150 years of artwork by the many visionary artists, past and present, big and small, who have been inspired by Mount Shasta. The mountain's grand beauty has called to a myriad of artists, from early California painters Albert Bierstadt and William Keith, to modern masters of photography such as Imogen Cunningham, Ansel Adams, and Michael Kenna." Editor's note: Also see Mount Shasta: An Annotated Bibliography, by William C. Miesse, with online links for Art: Fine Arts and Art: Photography. which reference books and articles relating to the art of Mt. Shasta. Many references are for books on individual artists, others are general surveys. The bibliography is part of The Significance of Mount Shasta as a Visual Resource in 19th and Early 20th Century California Art, by William Miesse. Also see References from Mount Shasta as a Visual Resource. From the College of the Siskiyous Library, Mount Shasta Companion, made possible through College of the Siskiyous and the California Community College Chancellor's Office.

Yosemite: Art of an American Icon, By Amy Scott, Museum of the American West. Published by University of California Press, 2006. ISBN 0520249224, 9780520249226. 221 pages. Google Books says: "This lavishly illustrated volume offers a stunning new view of Yosemite's visual history by presenting two hundred works of art together with provocative essays that explore the rich intersections between art and nature in this incomparable Sierra Nevada wilderness. Integrating the work of Native peoples, it provides the first inclusive view of the artists who helped create an icon of the American wilderness by featuring painting, photography, basketry, and other artworks from both well-known and little-studied artists from the nineteenth century to the present. Yosemite: Art of an American Icon pursues several evocative themes, including the relationship between environment and aesthetics in Yosemite; the various ways in which artists have shaped how we see and use the park; and the dynamic intersections between art, nature, and commerce that have played out during its history. In addition to offering an updated and comprehensive view of Yosemite's art over the past two centuries, the volume provides a rich and nuanced picture of the complexities and contradictions inherent in its enduring image as both a pristine wilderness and a highly sought-after tourist destination. With Essays by Amy Scott, William Deverell, Kate Nearpass Ogden, Gary F. Kurutz, Brian Bibby, Jennifer A. Watts, and Jonathan Spaulding Copub: Autry National Center, Museum of the American West" (left: catalogue front cover courtesy Google Books)

The Not-so-still Life: A Century of California Painting and Sculpture, By Susan Landauer, William Gerdts, Patricia Trenton, San Jose Museum of Art. Published 2003 by University of California Press. Still-life in art / Exhibitions. 237 pages. ISBN:0520239385. Google Books says: "As E. H. Gombrich once observed, the still life is compelled to challenge and at the same time perpetuate tradition. Without the elements of recognition and comparison, and the discovery of the familiar in the unfamiliar, the genre would lose most of its meaning. This lavishly illustrated volume documents the extraordinary challenges that artists in California have brought to the tradition of the still life as they have transformed and revitalized the genre over the course of the last century. In abundantly illustrated essays, as entertaining as they are informative, The Not-So-Still Life traces the great variety of media and forms these artists have engaged as they have moved the still life not just off the table, but off the wall and into three dimensions. Susan Landauer, William H. Gerdts, and Patricia Trenton investigate a range of forces and influences--whether historical, sociological, economic, psychological, or biographical--that have played into this evolution, from the plein-air Impressionism of the early twentieth century to the Synchromist bouquets of Stanton Macdonald-Wright, the revolving table settings of Charles Ray, and the electronic sculptures of Alan Rath. In doing so they deepen our understanding of American art over the last century.Presenting, interpreting, and celebrating the world-renowned and the lesser-known California artists who have uniquely defined and redefined the still life, this volume offers an exploration of the sensual pleasures, the aesthetic challenges, and the intellectual and perceptual associations of a century of art through the prism of a single genre." Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here. (right: catalogue front cover courtesy Google Books)

Artists in California, 1786-1940, By Edan Milton Hughes, Crocker Art Museum. Published 2002 by Crocker Art Museum. Artists/ California / Biography / Dictionaries. 2 pages. ISBN:1884038085

Landmarks: Sculpture Commissions for the Stuart Collection at the University of California, San Diego, By Mary Livingstone Beebe, James Stuart DeSilva, Robert Storr, Joan Simon, University of California, San Diego. Contributor Robert Storr. Published by Rizzoli, 2001. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 13, 2007. ISBN 0847823997, 9780847823994. 264 pages. Google Books says: "In 1981, The Stuart foundation, a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to funding experimental public sculpture, and the University of California, San Diego formed an extraordinary partnership to create the only major public, site-specific sculpture collection in the world. This collection has redefined the entire arena of public art. Instead of asking artists to create an object, without reference to the site, they required that each artist explore the campus carefully, and create a site-specific piece that could be integrated into the beautifully landscaped, 1,200-acre UCSD campus in La Jolla. The collection includes work by some of the most important contemporary artists, including Niki de Saint Phalle, William Wegman, Bruce Nauman, Kiki Smith, Nam June Paik and Robert Irwin, among others." (left: front front cover courtesy Google Books)

Artful Players: Artistic Life in Early San Francisco, by Birgitta Hjalmarson, with a forward by William H. Gerdts, 288 pages, 6 x 9 inches, 34 black and white photographs, 46 color photographs, ISBN 1-890449-01-6. 1999. Google Books says: "With a handful of wealthy Gold Rush barons as indulgent patrons, an active community of artists appeared in nineteenth-century San Francisco almost overnight. A subculture of artistic brilliance and social experimentation was the result--in essence, a decades-long revelry that finally ended with the 1906 earthquake. Witness Jules Tavernier, hungry and in debt, accepting a stuffed peacock and two old dueling pistols in payment for a Yosemite landscape; Mark Twain as reluctant art critic; Oscar Wilde outdrinking his hosts at the Bohemian Club, declaring he had never before seen "so many well-dressed, well-fed, business-like looking Bohemians." Prolific production of some of America's greatest paintings developed into a distinctly California style. Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, and William Keith were among the many artists who documented Yosemite Valley and the state's other natural wonders. Grace Hudson's paintings are still considered some of the finest records of Native American culture." (right: catalogue front cover courtesy Google Books)

Painted Light: California Impressionist Paintings from the Gardena High School - Los Angeles Unified School District Collection, By Jean Stern. Contributor Casey Brown. Published by California State University Dominguez Hills, 1998. ISBN 0966249003, 9780966249002. 60 pages. Google Books says: "Dr. Robert C. Detweiler, former President of California State University, Dominguez Hills, initiated the exhibition to be held at the University Art Gallery. The paintings represent some major California Impressionist painters such as Maurice Braun, Benjamin Brown, etc. The collection consists of gifts from the graduating classes of the Gardena High School from 1919 to 1956."

California Art: 450 Years of Painting & Other Media, by Nancy Dustin Wall Moure. 560 pages. Publisher: Dustin Publications; 1 edition (November 15, 1998). ISBN-10: 0961462248. ISBN-13: 978-0961462246 says of this book from Library Journal: "As California approaches its sesquicentennial in 2000, here is the first "comprehensive" survey of its art. Unfortunately, freelance curator Moure does not make a clear case here for what makes a work of art distinctly "Californian" and further fails to define the book's scope. Still, she has done a creditable job. Her focus includes all two- and three-dimensional media created (by Californians and non-Californians) within the state, as well as work done abroad by prominent Golden Staters. Her bias in favor of "high" vs. "low" art is problematic, since it leads her to exclude filmmaking (the state's most powerful aesthetic contribution) while finding space for "Hollywood Glamour Photography." Similarly, Moure omits California's vernacular architecture in favor of recent, well-publicized museum buildings. On the other hand, she lucidly distinguishes between art's separate evolution in Northern and Southern California. Moure's extensive knowledge and trenchant commentary relieves what could have been a tedious approach. A de rigueur purchase for West Coast libraries and larger collections nationwide?Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA" - Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Art of the Gold Rush, By Janice Tolhurst Driesbach, Harvey Jones, Katherine Church Holland, Oakland Museum, Crocker Art Museum, National Museum of American Art (U.S.). Published 1998 by University of California Press. Art, American / California/ 19th century/ Exhibitions. 168 pages. ISBN:0520214315. Google Books says: "The California Gold Rush captured the get-rich dreams of people around the world more completely than almost any event in American history. This catalog, published in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the 1848 discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, shows the vitality of the arts in the Golden State during the latter nineteenth century and documents the dramatic impact of the Gold Rush on the American imagination.Among the throngs of gold-seekers in California were artists, many self-taught, others formally trained, and their arrival produced an outpouring of artistic works that provide insights into Gold Rush events, personages, and attitudes. The best-known painting of the Gold Rush era, C.C. Nahl's Sunday Morning in the Mines (1872), was created nearly two decades after gold fever had subsided. By then the Gold Rush's mythic qualities were well established, and new allegories--particularly the American belief in the rewards of hard work and enterprise--can be seen on Nahl's canvas. Other works added to the image of California as a destination for ambitious dreamers, an image that prevails to this day. In bringing together a range of art and archival material such as artists' diaries and contemporary newspaper articles, The Art of the Gold Rush broadens our understanding of American culture during a memorable period in the nation's history." Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here. (right: catalogue front cover courtesy Google Books)

California Impressionism by William H. Gerdts, Abbeville Press; 1st edition (April 1, 1998). Baton Rouge Advocate, August 2, 1998, says: "William Gerdts, professor of art history at the Graduate School of The City of New York and an authority on American Impressionism, has written a detailed, expansive essay tracing the concept, sources and development of the California Impressionist movement. . . . Will South writes a more narrative piece, a chronological account of the movement filled with professional and biographical tidbits to delight both researchers and casual readers. . . . a fine resource for students, researchers and collectors. . . . a focused examination of a specific art movement in a specific region-a good reference for students and researchers, and attractive for casual page-turners and fans of impressionism in general."

Sunshine & Noir: Art in L.A. 1960-1997, by Denmark Louisiana (Museum : Humlebæk, Los Angeles Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Louisiana (Museum : Humlebæk, Denmark), Los Angeles - Art, American - 1998 - 12 pages. Brochure for a travelling exhibition originating at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and showing at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center in Los...

The Society of Six, By Nancy Boas. University of California Press says: "Six plein-air painters in Oakland, California, joined together in 1917 to form an association that lasted nearly fifteen years. The Society of Six -- Selden Connor Gile, Maurice Logan, William H. Clapp, August F. Gay, Bernard von Eichman, and Louis Siegriest -- created a color-centered modernist idiom that shocked establishment tastes but remains the most advanced painting of its era in Northern California. Nancy Boas's well-informed and sumptuously illustrated chronicle recognizes the importance of these six painters in the history of American Post-Impressionism..." 224 pages, Publisher: University of California Press, 1997. ISBN-10: 0520210557, ISBN-13: 978-0520210554 (right: catalogue front cover courtesy University of California Press)

Pacific Dreams: Currents of Surrealism and Fantasy in California Art, 1934-1957, by Susan Ehrlich - Art - 1995. Published in conjunction with the exhibition held at UCLA at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, July 11-September 17, 1995; the Oakland Museum.

Art in Public Places: A Self-guided Tour Through the City of Brea, Published by Brea Redevelopment Agency, 1994. 24 pages

The Arts and Crafts Movement in California: Living the Good Life, By Kenneth R. Trapp, Leslie Greene Bowman, Oakland Museum, Renwick Gallery, Cincinnati Art Museum. Published by Oakland Museum, 1993. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 17, 2007. ISBN 1558593934, 9781558593930. 328 pages. Google Books says: "Exhibition itinerary: The Oakland Museum, February 27-August 15, 1993, Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October 8, 1993-January 9, 1994, Cincinnati Art Museum, February 18-April 17, 1994"--T.p. verso.

Bountiful Harvest: 19th-century California Still Life Painting, By Janice Tolhurst Driesbach, Crocker Art Museum, Oakland Museum. Published 1991 by Crocker Art Museum. Still-life painting, American. 88 pages

California Grandeur and Genre from the Collection of James L. Coran and Walter A. Nelson-Rees - Palm Springs Desert Museum - 12/13/91 - 3/1/92 by Iona M. Chelette, Katherine Plake Hough, Will South (1991)

California A-Z and Return: June 23 - August 19, 1990, by John Fitz Gibbon, Butler Institute of American Art, Butler Institute of American Art - Art, American - 1990 - 92 pages. Catalog of an exhibition held June 23-Aug. 19, 1990.

Turning the Tide: Early Los Angeles Modernists, 1920-1956, By Paul J. Karlstrom, Susan Ehrlich, Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Contributor Susan Ehrlich. Published by Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1990. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 14, 2007. 168 pages

Regionalism: The California View, Watercolors, 1929-1945, By Susan Mary Anderson, Robert Henning, Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Published by Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1988. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 14, 2007. ISBN 0899510728, 9780899510729. 88 pages.

The Extension of Tradition: Contemporary Northern California Native American ..., By Crocker Art Museum, Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs Desert Museum, Crocker Art Museum. Published 1985 by Crocker Art Museum. 76 pages

Publications in Southern California Art 1, 2 and 3, by Nancy Dustin Wall Moure, 1984

Publications in Southern California Art 4, 5, 6 and 7, by Nancy Dustin Wall Moure

Publications in Southern California Art 8, 9, 10, by Nancy Dustin Wall Moure

Monterey: The Artist's View, 1925-1945 (1982), Thomas J. Logan:, Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art: Monterey:

Paper Art: A Survey of the Work of Fifteen Northern California Paper Artists, By Hilary F. Marckx, Crocker Art Museum. Published 1980 by Crocker Art Museum. Art, American. 40 pages. Exhibition held at the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, Calif., January 17-March 1, 1981.

The Potter's Art in California, 1885 to 1955, By Hazel V. Bray, Oakland Museum, Lang Art Gallery, Published by Oakland Museum, 1980. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 14, 2007. 87 pages. Google Books says: "[Exhibition held] August 22-October 1, 1978, Art Special Gallery, The Oakland, Museum, Oakland, California; November 5-December 18, 1978, Lang Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, California."

Los Angeles Prints, 1883-1980: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, By Ebria Feinblatt, Bruce Davis, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Published by The Museum, 1980. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 14, 2007. ISBN 087587097X, 9780875870977. 112 pages

Public Sculpture/urban Environment, By George W Neubert. Published by Oakland Museum, 1974. 72 pages

Publicly Owned Art in Fresno, California, By Fresno Mall Art Committee, Fresno Mall Art Committee. Published by Fresno County and City Chamber of Commerce, 1973. 32 pages

Los Angeles Painters of the Nineteen-twenties. By Nancy Dustin Wall Moure, Arthur Miller, Montgomery Art Center. Published by Pomona College Gallery, 1972. Google Books says: "Catalogue of an exhibition held Apr. 5-May 3, 1972 at the Montgomery Art Center, Pomona College."

Historical Statues & Monuments in California, By Merrill A. Reed. Published by The Author, 1956. 176 pages

California Water Colors, by Arnot Art Museum, Arnot Art Museum - Watercolor painting, American - 1938. Catalog of an exhibition held May, 1938.

Collection of Paintings by Some of the Living Artists of Southern California, by Arnot Art Museum, Arnot Art Museum - Painting, American - 1929. Catalog of an exhibition held Apr. 10-May 10, (1929?)


Books about individual artists are not listed here. To find references to exhibition catalogues covering single artists, conduct a search within Resource Library and visit TFAO's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.


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