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First Generation: Art in Claremont, 1907-1957

January 27 - April 27, 2008


The Claremont Museum of Art is presenting First Generation: Art in Claremont, 1907-1957, which traces the art history of Claremont and the region in the first 50 years after the city's incorporation in 1907. First Generation opened with a public reception on Sunday, January 27, 2008 and runs through Sunday, April 27, 2008.

On a clear day a century ago, one could see the peak of Mt. Baldy from virtually every corner of the Los Angeles basin, from ocean to desert. The original inhabitants of this area, the Tongva/Gabrielino Indians, called the mountain "Yoát," or snow. Its siren song has drawn generations of settlers to its shadow. Since the late 19th century, prominent artists have been among those attracted to the foothills of Mt. Baldy and its neighboring peaks-and the city of Claremont, in particular. Whether it was the allure of the "great bald mountain" and its surrounding chaparral that first attracted painters and photographers to Claremont, or the opportunities provided by the birth of the schools and colleges founded to serve a rapidly growing population, a large number of distinguished visual artists settled here, greatly enriching the culture of the region and establishing early-on its prominence as an artistic haven.

First Generation traces the art history of the region, from the work of such artists as Hannah Tempest Jenkins, Emil Kosa, Jr., and William Manker to that of Millard Sheets and his circle in the 1930s. Sheets's influence as artist and teacher extended as well to bringing artists such as Henry Lee McFee, Phil Dike, and Jean Ames to Scripps College, thereby enhancing the existing art community and assuring its lasting influence.

"This exhibition includes the work of these and other artists important to Claremont's history and reflects the conviction on which the Claremont Museum of Art is based," says Curator Steve Comba. "That Claremont's artistic heritage is a rich and valuable resource for both present and future generations, one that deserves to be examined and celebrated."


(above: Albert Stewart, Young Centaur, 1931, Plaster. Scripps College Collection)                      



(above: Phil Dike, Sunlit Valley, 1944, Oil on linen. Private Collection, Courtesy Claremont Fine Arts)       


Exhibition Guide Curator's Statement

On a clear day a century ago, one could see the peak of Mt. Baldy from virtually every corner of the Los Angeles basin, from ocean to desert. The original inhabitants of this area, the Tongva/Gabrielino Indians, called the mountain Yoát, or snow. Its siren song has drawn generations of settlers to its shadow.

Since the late 19th Century, artists have been prominent among those attracted to the Claremont area. Whether it was the allure of the "great bald mountain" and its surrounding chaparral that first attracted painters and photographers, or the opportunities provided by the birth of the schools and colleges founded to serve a rapidly growing population, a large number of distinguished visual artists settled here, greatly enriching the culture of the region and establishing early-on its prominence as an artistic haven.

This exhibition focuses on art in Claremont and the region in the early decades of the 20th century, the year 1907 important in that it marks the incorporation of the city, this year celebrating the centennial of this event. Adding fifty years is merely an attempt to draw an artificial parenthetical encapsulation on a lively and productive time in the artistic history of the city. So many artists deserve rightful inclusion in any survey of the region's rich history that any exhibition of this scale will unfortunately leave out many deserving of attention. Students, artists whose reputations were established on the cusp of the late 50's, and the legions that followed are too numerous and are better served by in-depth examinations in future surveys.

The artists included were selected based upon the historical record and the recollections of those who directly remember their influence. Many came to teach, some for only a short time, but their legacies are still felt in the remembrances and passion of the artists and collectors I have had the pleasure to meet in the process of organizing this exhibition. I knew from the beginning that this subject was an ambitious undertaking for a new institution with a short time imperative. However, I have been most gratified by the generosity of those collectors and artists who have assisted in this project and have given their time and treasures to share with a new generation.

The artists included are important to Claremont's history, this exhibition reflects the conviction on which the Claremont Museum of Art is based: that Claremont's artistic heritage is a rich and valuable resource for both present and future generations, one that deserves to be examined and celebrated.

Steve Comba

Guest Curator


Checklist for the exhibition

Plate, n.d.
Plate, n.d.
Sun Hunter, 1955
Untitled (Rooster), n.d.
Gouache on paper
Star Angel, 1950-51
Enamel on copper
Horse and Rider, c. 1940
Terra Cotta
Steel Mill, c.1942
Watercolor on paper
Steel Mill, c. 1942
Watercolor on paper
Near San Simeon, c.1940
Watercolor on paper
Smelter, c.1941
Watercolor on paper
Oreqou Mist, 1939
Oil on board
Chino, c.1932
Watercolor on paper
Day's End, 1947
Oil on canvas
Melissa, 1934
Oil on canvas
California Holiday, 1933
Oil on canvas
View of Los Angeles (Chavez Ravine), 1943
Oil on canvas
Elysian Park (Chavez Ravine), 1942
Watercolor on paper
Harbor Patterns, 1951
Watercolor and gouache on paper
Holiday, 1931
Oil on canvas
Sunlit Valley, 1944
Oil on canvas
Untitled (rocks and birds), c.1955-57
Watercolor and pastel on paper
Santa Barbara Hills, n.d.
Oil on canvas
Still Life with Rooster and Hen, c.1920
Oil on canvas
Giant Agave, 1940
Watercolor on paper
The Sun Tells the Story, c. 1940
Oil on canvas
Romance of the Shovel, c. 1930's
Watercolor on paper
Mt. Baldy, n.d.
Woodcut on paper
Rima, 1936
Wood engraving on paper
Lidded Cylindrical Container, n.d.
Vase, 1946
Fish Design Condiment Tray, c. 1940's
Slipcast and glazed porcelain
Low, flared bowl, n.d.
Cast earthenware
Bouquet from the Desert, 1941
Oil on canvas
Sunflowers in a Vase, n.d.
Oil on canvas
Still Life, Apples, 1930
Oil on canvas
View from Mt. Rubidoux, 1918
Oil on canvas
Indians Thrashing, 1939
Watercolor on paper
Pulling the Nets, c. 1931-32
Watercolor on paper
Corral, c.1935
Watercolor on paper
Wine Jug/Bottle in Teardrop Shape, 1949
Glazed stoneware
Large Jar with Molded Chinese Lion Lid, 1947
Handthrown stoneware, glazed
Pig-shaped Teapot, c. 1950-5
Glazed stoneware, wheel thrown
Teapot with Tall Looped Handle, 1950
Stoneware, glazed
(with Phil Dike)
Pitcher, 1959
Wheelthrown stoneware, glazed
Far Hills Farm, 1956
Watercolor on paper
Moonlight, Big Bear, 1945
Watercolor on paper
Spring, Saw Mill Canyon, 1945
Watercolor on paper
The Hobby Horse, 1947
Oil on canvas
Still Life with Sansevieria, 1947
Oil on canvas
Bathers at Miramar, 1935
Watercolor on paper
The Royal Camp, 1928
Oil on canvas
Old Mill, Big Sur, 1933
Watercolor on paper
Landscape with Barn, 1926
Oil on canvas
Rain Squall, Hookena, Hawaii, c. 1951
Watercolor on paper
On The Coast, 1928
Oil on canvas
Girl Watching Bird, 1946-47
Heron, c.1930
Anteater, c. 1950
Terra Cotta
Elijah, 1950
Young Centaur, 1931
Heron, 1948
Ranchero Study, 1951
Polychromed plaster
Refugees, n.d.
Polychromed redwood
Mohave Cottonwoods, c. 1953
Oil on panel
Untitled (Olive Trees), 1955
Watercolor on paper
Revelie, 1943
Watercolor on paper
South Hills, 1932
Oil on panel
Moonlight and Horses, c. 1935
Watercolor on paper
In Chino, 1937
Watercolor on paper


Artist biographies

Arthur Forbes Ames
(b. Tamarillo, IL 1906, d. Los Angeles 1975)
Although Arthur Ames was born in Illinois, he came to California when he was quite young and was raised in Ontario. He studied at the California School of Fine Art in San Francisco where he met Ray Boynton, one of the first and most prominent Bay Area fresco muralists, who inspired him to work in mosaics.
One of the struggling artists of the 1930s whose career was launched by the Federal Art Project, Arthur, along with his artist wife Jean Goodwin Ames, designed mosaic panels for the patio of the Newport Harbor High School in 1937, as well as numerous collaborative works in enamel in the 60's and 70's for which they both gained national recognition.
Jean Goodwin Ames
(b. Santa Ana 1903, d. Claremont 1986)
Jean Goodwin was born and raised in orange grove country near Santa Ana. She first studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago and ultimately received her degrees in 1937 from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. Goodwin taught art at Citrus High School and Junior College (1933-36) and, from1940 to 1969, was on the faculty of both Scripps College, where she served as Chair of the Art Department 1962-69, and the Claremont Graduate School.
While at USC Jean became interested in mural decoration, and in a ceramics class taught by Glen Lukens, she learned ancient glaze methods. While attending Lukens's class she also met fellow artist Arthur Ames; they were married in 1940. Jean and Arthur perfected their craft and, by 1955, were practicing a variety of ceramic mediums including glazed tile, glass mosaic and enamel. The couple became interested in enameling in the '40s. Jean's work, as seen here in Star Angel, uses the richness of the medium to depict fanciful and mythological creatures in jewel-like tone and depth.
Jean and Arthur Ames collaborated on a number of projects throughout their careers, including decorative murals for the mural division of the Works Progress Administration. While working for the WPA they became leaders in the revival of ancient mural techniques and were among the first in California to use mosaics. Jean's tapestries and mosaics decorate buildings throughout Southern California. Many of these include commissions for churches, such as a mosaic altar for Claremont Community Church (1955) and twenty-four enamel and copper panels on the entrance doors at the Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills (1956).
Loren Roberta Barton
(b. 1893 Oxford, MA, d. Claremont 1975)
Born in the Massachusetts home of her great-aunt Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, Loren Barton came to Los Angeles with her family as a child. An artistic prodigy, she began exhibiting her work at the age of eight and, by sixteen, had completed a formal course of study at the University of Southern California and the Art Students League in Los Angeles. Many years later (1941-47), she would teach painting at the Chouinard School of Art.
Barton became known first for etchings and book illustrations and later for paintings in both oil and watercolor. She exhibited with the California Water Color Society for the first time in 1924.
Barton found inspiration in nature and expressed herself through a brilliantly colored palette. Frequent travels abroad provided inspiration for landscape paintings of Italy, England and Spain. Much of her work was figurative and included portraits and animals. By the 1930s she was combining figures with architecture, depicting workers in industrial settings such as those seen in the two Fontana Steel Mill paintings on view here. Such evidence of the growing industrialization of the state was recorded in a positive spirit by the California Regionalists.
Over her lifetime, Barton received numerous awards for her art from such prestigious organizations as the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors (1926) and the American Water Color Society (1941). Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., New York Public Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and National Library of France.
Thomas Theodore Craig
(b. Upland 1909, d. Escondido 1969)
As a young student, Tom Craig studied botany at the University of California at Berkeley, later continuing his botanical studies at Pomona College. Always interested in art, he studied briefly at Chouinard Art Institute with Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Millard Sheets and Barse Miller. In 1928, when he was 21, Craig contracted tuberculosis and moved to Palm Springs for the dry desert climate. It was during this period that he became a serious painter. When he returned to the Los Angeles area he studied with F. Tolles Chamberlain and Clarence Hinkle.
In the 1930s, Craig taught at Occidental College and at the University of Southern California, and, in 1941, he traveled and painted throughout the Southwest on a Guggenheim Fellowship. During World War II he served as an art correspondent in Italy for Life magazine; following the war, he painted only occasionally as his focus returned to botany and to raising hybrid flowers, especially irises.
Although he painted and exhibited actively for only about twenty years, Craig played an important role in the development of the California Style of watercolor painting. Many of his paintings were worked in a very wet style, using soft colors and often depicting farm or rural scenes on misty or foggy days, such as Oreqou Mist. Because Northern California was more conducive to this type of painting, Craig spent much time there.
Francis De Erdely
(b. Budapest, Hungary 1904, d. Los Angeles 1959)
Born in Hungary in 1904, Francis De Erdely grew up during the First World War. His graphic depictions of the atrocities he witnessed as a youth angered early members of the Gestapo, and he was eventually forced to flee Hungary. After completing his studies at the Royal Academy of Art in Budapest, De Erdely studied at the Real Academie de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid and the Sorbonne and l'Ecole du Louvre in Paris.
De Erdely abandoned Europe shortly before the onset of World War II, eventually settling in Los Angeles in 1944. It was here that he became a principal figure in the West Coast Modernist movement along with fellow painters Sueo Serisawa, Bentley Schaad, Rico LeBrun and Richard Haines, all of whom followed in the tradition set by Lorser Feitelson, Stanton McDonald-Wright and Helen Lundeberg.
De Erdely is best known for his paintings done in Los Angeles during the 1940s and 50s of immigrants and other ethnic or social outsiders, as seen here in Day's End and Melissa. Such works constituted meditations on the human condition, portraying the anxieties of the lower classes and immigrants of Los Angeles. De Erdely's work often confronted controversial social issues relating to race, politics, labor and immigration, depicting individuals in a manner that highlights both their struggle and the dignity of their response to their experience.
After serving as Dean of the Pasadena Art Museum School in 1945, De Erdely joined the faculty of the University of Southern California where he remained until his death in 1959. He was a highly respected teacher who hoped to "awaken in his students a complete awareness of those stirring social forces which created and will continue to mold the monumental history of America."
De Erdely's works are to be found in every major museum in California as well as at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Detroit Institute of Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.
Philip Latimer Dike
(b. Redlands 1906, d. 1990)
Phil Dike was born into an artistic family and raised in Southern California. In 1923 he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Chouinard Art Institute where he received instruction from F. Tolles Chamberlin and Clarence Hinkle. He continued his studies at the Art Students League in New York, working with George Bridgman, Frank Vincent DuMond, and at the American Academy of Art at Fountainbleau near Paris. When the Great Depression hit, Dike returned to California to teach for the next twenty years at Chouinard.
Dike achieved early success as an artist, and, in 1927, he joined the California Water Color Society along with Millard Sheets, Emil Kosa, Jr., Phil Paradise, Lee Blair, Milford Zornes, Paul Sample, Barse Miller and Hardie Gramatky. On a weekday drive to Pasadena, one might find Paradise and Kosa painting under one of the bridges that spanned the Arroyo Seco, Paul Sample doing a waterfront painting at Terminal Island, or Dike, Sheets and Fred Penney painting the gaily colored houses at Chavez Ravine. Their main objective was to capture and communicate visually the magnificent light and color of California. For this purpose, they unanimously agreed that transparent watercolor was most effective, and together they promoted interest in the medium and circulated the work of the Society's members nationwide in traveling exhibitions.
Like many of Dike's paintings, Holiday and View of Los Angeles adopt a high viewpoint, looking down on scenes bounded at the top by a wide horizon. His style freely combines fluid washes, bold brushstrokes and calligraphic flourishes for tree limbs and roof tiles, with flecks of white paper accenting distinct brush strokes. The View of Los Angeles is also a portrait of the artist and his son Woody, investing the picture with a special poignancy.
Dike also worked at the Walt Disney Studios (1935-45) as an instructor, color coordinator and story designer on such animated classics as Snow White and Fantasia. After the war, Dike left Disney and went back to teaching and painting full time. He and Rex Brandt formed the highly successful Brandt-Dike Summer School of Painting in Corona del Mar (1947-50), and during regular school months he continued teaching at Chouinard. It was at this time that Dike's watercolors became more modern in style, incorporating calligraphic elements and geometric abstraction.
In 1950, Dike and his family moved to Claremont where he spent more than two decades on the faculty of Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School. He was an inspiration to many well-known artists and, upon retirement, was honored with the title Professor Emeritus. While living in Claremont and painting at Balboa Bay, Dike also built a second home in Cambria on the central California coast. Harbors, driftwood, figures on the beach and dramatic rock formations all became subjects for his many watercolors of this period.
Dike's paintings can be found in many prestigious collections including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio. He also produced ceramic tile works including ones to be found at the entrance of the St San Antonio College Fine Arts Center, the Scripps College pool, and the chapel of Claremont Community Congregational Church.
Hannah Tempest Jenkins
(b. Philadelphia, 1854, d. Glendale, CA 1927)
Hannah Tempest grew up in Philadelphia in the tradition of the Friends Society. She demonstrated an early talent for art but did not receive formal training until after her husband's early death. She attended the Philadelphia School of Industrial Art (1882-1887); the Spring Garden Institute, Philadelphia (1885-1887); and, over a longer period, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1888, 1893-1898) where she was a student of William Merritt Chase among others. During these years, she also studied in Paris at the Académie Julian and, in 1913 while on a world tour, received instruction from Takeuchi Seiho in Kyoto, Japan.
In 1905, Jenkins was hired as Pomona College's first resident art instructor. Until that time, the only art curriculum had been provided by Gordon MacLeod, who came weekly to Claremont from the Los Angeles School of Art and Design. Jenkins was persuaded to leave her Philadelphia studio and move to Claremont, where she remained for 20 years. In addition to her influence as a teacher, she was one of the founders of the Rembrandt Club of Pomona College (1905), a volunteer organization that provided support for the arts and is still active today, and painted the official portrait of Pomona College President George Gates (1901-1910), who had brought her to the College. Upon her death, Jenkins bequeathed her art collection to the College along with funds to endow a scholarship in her name.
Clarence Keiser Hinkle
(b. Auburn, CA 1880, d. Santa Barbara 1960)
Early in his life, Clarence Hinkle moved with his family to a ranch outside Sacramento where his father had a carriage painting business. While quite young, he began art studies locally under W. F. Jackson at the Crocker Art Museum. Hinkle later moved to San Francisco and enrolled at the Mark Hopkins Institute where he worked under the tutelage of Arthur Matthews. This was followed by study at the Art Students League in New York with William Merritt Chase, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia. In 1906 Hinkle won the Cresson Scholarship that allowed him to study for six years at the Académie Colarossi and Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Upon his return in 1912, Hinkle established a studio in San Francisco and began exhibiting locally. His works were considered daringly modern at the time. After moving to Los Angeles in 1917, he accepted a teaching position at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design and, in 1921, became the first art instructor at the newly founded Chouinard School of Art where he influenced Phil Dike and Millard Sheets. Hinkle instilled in his students the spirit of experimentation, teaching them to paint directly from nature using free, Neo-Impressionist brushwork.
While teaching in Los Angeles, Hinkle lived Laguna Beach where he remained until a final move in 1935 to a home overlooking the Santa Barbara harbor. During the 1940s he taught at the Santa Barbara School of Art and was active there until his death. Considered one of California's most important post-impressionists and early modernists, Hinkle is represented in such prestigious collections as the de Young Museum, San Francisco, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Oakland Museum, Santa Barbara Museum, and Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento.
Emil Jean Kosa, Jr.
(b. Paris 1903, d. Los Angeles 1968)
Emil Kosa, Jr. was born in Paris and raised in Czechoslovakia. He was exposed to both art and music at an early age and later studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, the California Art Institute, Los Angeles, l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and, finally, the Chouinard School of Arts, Los Angeles. At Chouinard, Kosa met Millard Sheets, who encouraged him to pursue a professional art career.
After settling in California in 1928, Kosa worked as a mural artist and operated a business with his father, a self-taught painter, producing decorative art for churches and auditoriums. Commissions included the ceiling of Bridges Auditorium at Pomona College and the sanctuary of the Los Angeles Temple. Kosa also took on portrait commissions, completing more than 75 portraits between 1940 and 1968. His official portrait of Chief Justice Earl Warren from the 1950s is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
For 35 years Kosa was a special effects artist for Twentieth Century Fox Studios, winning an Academy Award in 1963 for his work on the film Cleopatra. He continued to paint, exhibit, lecture and win awards throughout his film career, even finding time to be an instructor at the Otis Art Institute (1939) and Chouinard (1947).
Kosa is best known for his representational watercolors and oils, but he also won awards for pencil drawings, pastels and prints depicting figurative subjects. During the 1940s and through the mid-1960s, he occasionally revisited an early interest in non-objective art and produced a body of work that expresses his love for music and experimental concepts.
Paul Hambleton Landacre
(b. Columbus, OH 1893, d. Los Angeles 1963)
Paul Landacre has come to be recognized as one of the preeminent printmakers of the 20th century. He studied entomology at Ohio State University and aspired to become an Olympic runner until a bacterial infection left him permanently disabled. In 1916, one year after his illness, he moved to Southern California to recuperate. He discovered a talent for drawing and began working for a San Diego advertising agency. Landacre relocated to Los Angeles in 1922 and soon thereafter became disenchanted with commercial art. Only through the support of his wife Margaret was he able to quit his job and fully dedicate himself to his art. In the late 20's Landacre was invited to Pomona College, serving a short time at the first "Artist-in-Residence."
Landacre studied at the Otis College of Art and Design (1923-26) where he later joined the faculty, but he taught himself the demanding art of wood engraving, which became his medium of choice. Best known for his views of the California landscape, he mastered the nuances of black and white in a refined style, seen here in Mt. Baldy, with white lines, delicate cross-hatching and flecking contrasted with large dark areas. Landacre also created sensual depictions of plant, animal and human forms in an increasingly abstract manner, as in Rima.
With very few exceptions, Landacre printed all of his own wood engravings in limited editions. Many of his engravings were inspired by the landscape around the Landacre home in El Moran, and in 1931 he published California Hills, a series of masterful wood engravings of Berkeley, UCLA, Malibu, Big Sur, the Monterey Hills and other locales.
William Manker
(b. 1902, d. 1997)
Born in Southern California, William Manker studied at Chouinard in Los Angeles under F. Tolles Chamberlin. In 1926 he became a designer in partnership with Ernest Batchelder, one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement in California. After the business closed its doors during the Depression, Manker opened his own studio in Pasadena and quickly attracted a following. As business prospered, larger facilities were established in 1935 at Padua Hills in Claremont.
William Manker Ceramics were easily recognizable by their distinctive glazes. Usually, Manker would begin with a base color over which a contrasting color was blended; yet another color would be employed on the inside of a work. His skill as a colorist is apparent in the contrast of the dark brown brush design and brilliant yellow crackle glaze of Vase. Manker learned wheel throwing from Gertrud Natzler, a Viennese artist who had emigrated from Austria with her husband Otto in 1938. The next year, Manker began producing his own wheel-thrown work.
Manker was hired by Millard Sheets to found the Ceramics program at Scripps College, and he taught there and at the Claremont Graduate School from 1940-45. Manker was followed at Scripps by Richard Petterson in 1948.
Henry Lee McFee
(b. St. Louis 1886, d. Altadena 1953)
Henry Lee McFee attended the Kemper Military Academy in Missouri and, in 1907, received a large inheritance that allowed him to pursue painting. He enrolled in the Stevenson Art School, Long Island, NewYork, for one year and then spent two summers attending classes at the Art Students League in Woodstock, studying under Birge Harrison.
In November of 1913, McFee exhibited six works at the MacDowell Club, New York, and in 1920 his work was shown at the Galérie Georges Petit's International Art Exhibition in Paris. McFee's his first one-man show was in 1927 at New York's Rehn Gallery, where he continued to exhibit into the 1940s. In 1939 McFee was appointed Director of the Witte Museum School of Art, San Antonio, Texas, and in 1940-1941 he held positions at the Claremont Colleges and Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.
McFee's paintings seen here represent his move away from Cubism and reflect a style known as Formalist Realism characterized by a dynamic tension between angular and curved forms.
Evylena Nunn Miller
(b. Mayfield, KS 1888, d. Santa Ana 1966)
Evylena Nunn Miller spent the first fifteen years of her life in a small town in Kansas. In 1903, she moved to Santa Ana and eventually earned an art degree from Pomona College and a teacher's diploma from UCLA.
From 1911 to 1918, Miller taught art at Claremont High School, Riverside Girls' School and Santa Ana High School. During this period she continued her studies with Anna Althea Hills and Hannah Tempest Jenkins, at the Art Students League in New York, and the Berkshire Summer School of Art in Massachusetts. She also spent two years in Japan teaching at a boys' school and studying with Jippo Araki before returning to Los Angeles in 1923. Her book Travel Tree documents her travels in Japan, China, Egypt and the Holy Land. One of her goals was to paint all of the pueblos of the Southwest, a project that led ultimately to the completion of forty canvases depicting the lives of the Navajo, Apache, Hopi, Jemez, Acoma, Laguna and Zuni. She became director of the Bowers Memorial Museum, Santa Ana, in 1956.
View from Mt. Rubidoux depicts the small but prominent mountain on the south side of the Santa Ana River around which Riverside was settled in the late nineteenth century.
Phillip Herschel Paradise
(b. Ontario, OR 1905, d. 1997)
Although born in Oregon, Paradise spent his childhood in Bakersfield, California. In the 1920s he studied with F. Tolles Chamberlin, Rico LeBrun and Leon Droll at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.
Paradise was known for his ability to sketch his travels from memory and produced a book of hundreds of India ink sketches from which he painted for years. His early works were city and desert landscapes in a regionalist style. These received a great deal of attention and were included in a number of important watercolor shows including the California Group exhibitions.
During the 1940s Paradise developed a more stylized approach, with subjects drawn from his travels to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The artist's deep love for horses was reflected in frequent paintings of them. In The Corral we sense the restrained energy of these stallions, their mood provoked by the violent storm brewing in the shadows.
Paradise taught at the Chouinard Art Institute (1931-41) and at Scripps College. He also worked as designer for Saul Lesser Productions and later became director of the Cambria Summer Art School. During the 1940s, he set up a print workshop in that central California town, producing limited edition serigraph prints.
David Winfield Scott
(b. Fall River, MA 1916)
David Scott settled with his family in Claremont in 1923 when his father joined the faculty of Pomona College. At sixteen he graduated from the Webb School and took a summer painting class with Millard Sheets who, he later wrote, "promptly converted me to painting as a way of life." Scott was also profoundly affected by José Clemente Orozco's Pomona College mural Prometheus (1930), calling it his "touchstone for greatness." Scott entered Harvard in 1933 and, while there, also studied at the Art Students League in New York, working with Jean Charlot and John Sloan. After Harvard, he went on to earn an MA and teaching credentials at the Claremont Graduate School, and then taught at Riverside Junior College.
During World War II, while serving in the Air Corps in Europe, Scott did a great deal of sketching of landscapes and wartime activities. Returning to Claremont, he took an MFA at the Claremont Graduate School and then accepted a lectureship at Scripps College where he taught humanities, art history and studio art, and ultimately chaired the Art Department. In 1960 he completed a Ph.D. in art history at UC Berkeley.
In 1962 Scott joined the staff of National Collection of Fine Arts (Smithsonian Institution) in Washington, D.C., moving in 1969 to National Gallery of Art where he served as planning and programming officer with responsibility for the East Building that opened in 1978. He retired from the Gallery in 1984, later serving as Acting Director of the Corcoran Gallery in 1990.
Scott's art has evolved from decade to decade, drawing on influences from collaborations, research and personal friendships with leading artists of the day. Since 2004, Scott and his wife Doris have lived in Austin, Texas.
Richard Petterson
(b. Tiensien, China 1910, d. Pomona 1996)
Richard Petterson was born to an engineer father and a mother who collected Chinese ceramics. It was an interest in his mother's collection that led to Petterson's extensive knowledge of the field. He attended Pei Yang University in China and later came to the United States where he enrolled at UCLA to study design and crafts. He received a teaching credential there in 1938, and then studied at the University of Chicago, where after teaching ceramics at Pasadena City College, he directed a summer arts and crafts program from 1941-46.
In 1947 Millard Sheets saw Petterson's ceramics at the Pasadena Art Museum and invited him to join the faculty at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School. During his 38 years at Scripps, Petterson was noted for his innovations in ceramics and his influence on such students as Harrison McIntosh and Rupert Deese. He also served for 30 years as co-director of exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Fair. In 1957 Petterson accepted a 3-year appointment by the U.S. State Department to director a program in the arts in Taiwan. In 1960 he returned to Scripps as Director of Lang Gallery. He is also credited with establishing the Scripps Ceramic Annual, the oldest such exhibition in the country, now in its 64th year.
It was in the 1960s that Petterson and his wife Alice began their association with Pilgrim Place, a cultural and religious community founded in 1915 for retired church workers. They were involved in the formation of the Friends of Pilgrim Place, dedicated to preserving and exhibiting the international collection of folk art housed there. The Pettersons donated their personal collection of arts and crafts to the museum, a month before Alice's death in 1983, the museum was dedicated to them.
Sueo Serisawa
(b. Yokohama, Japan 1910, d. San Diego 2004)
Sueo Serisawa was the son of artist Yoichi Serisawa, who moved his family to Seattle in 1918, and a few years later to Long Beach. Profoundly influenced by his father, Sueo began painting at a very young age. Perfecting his craft as a draughtsman and painter, he studied at the Otis Art Institute, Scripps College, and the Kahn Institute of Art in West Hollywood.
Serisawa's early works were romantic in style, primarily portrait and still life paintings influenced by European art. But as a leading member of the modernist School in Los Angeles, his later paintings reflected the influence of abstraction and Cubism. Many of Serisawa's works also constituted critical political commentary, especially of the World War. In the late 1950s he was exhibiting alongside such artists as Dan Lutz, Frances de Erdely, Richard Haines and Dorr Bothwell. Serisawa later returned to his Asian roots, painting in an abstract style influenced by the teachings of Zen philosophy and the structure and form of calligraphy.
When the U.S. entered the Second World War in 1941, Serisawa and his family left the West Coast to avoid forced internment. They lived briefly in Colorado and then Chicago, where he studied at the Art Institute for a year. In New York, where Serisawa moved in 1943, his work received wide recognition.
Serisawa returned to Southern California in 1947 and the following year joined the faculty at the Kahn Institute. He also taught at Scripps College, Claremont Graduate School, Laguna Beach School of Art and the University of Southern California in Idyllwild.
Susi Singer
(b. Austria, Vienna 1891, d. California 1955)
Born in Austria, Susi Singer was a victim of malnutrition following World War I that left her permanently frail and crippled. At the age of seventeen, she received a scholarship to train at the famous Wiener Werkstätte, a craft workshop in Vienna promoting a "modern" style that sought to restore solid yet innovative design through the mutual cooperation of artist and craftsman. The Werkstätte aspired to reaffirm aesthetic value often missing in mass produced items, and it was here that Singer learned to create the exquisite ceramic figures for which she became known.
After sixteen years at the Werkstätte, Singer established her own studio but continued to supply the workshop with her art. Because of her Jewish ancestry, she was forced to flee Europe with the rise of the Third Reich. In 1937 she settled in Los Angeles where her repertoire of images reflected the lifestyle of Hollywood and California. In 1946 Singer was awarded a grant from the Fine Arts Foundation at Scripps College to explore glazes. During her short time at Scripps, she taught sculpture and appeared in the first Scripps Ceramic Annual as well as in six succeeding exhibitions.
Millard Owen Sheets
(b. Pomona 1907, d. Gualala 1989)
Millard Sheets was born in Pomona and spent much of his life in Southern California where he developed a love of the land and horses. He attended the Chouinard Art Institute and studied with F. Tolles Chamberlin and Clarence Hinkle. After graduation in 1929 he taught watercolor at Chouinard, and his use of the medium encouraged many others to follow suit, including Phil Dike, Lee Blair, Hardie Gramatky, Barse Miller, Phil Paradise and Paul Sample. Together they joined the California Water Color Society, stirring a revival of interest in the medium, both locally and nationwide.
During the Depression, Sheets worked with Edward Bruce to hire artists for the WPA, the first of the New Deal projects. He was also one of 15 artists chosen nationally to paint murals for the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. It is said that of all the Depression-era artists, Sheets was the most representative of the California School. One of the earliest proponents of the American Scene movement in California, Sheets eventually became the teacher, friend and supporter of many of the artists represented in this exhibition.
Sheets also organized major exhibitions as the director of the art section of the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, beginning in 1931. Both entertaining and educational, these efforts were similar to other populist experiments of the 1930s that sought to bring art to the American people.
In 1938 Sheets became chair of the art departments at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School. During World War II he was an artist-correspondent for Life magazine covering the Burma-India theater from 1943-44; many of his works from this period document the conflict, famine and death he witnessed. Sheets remained at the Claremont Colleges until 1960, later serving as director at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles.
Sheets painted ethnic neighborhoods and city scenes in a dramatic and colorful style loosely based on the "Ashcan" school of painters. From Clarence Hinkle he learned to paint directly from nature, on a large scale and with bold brushstrokes, often leaving the white paper or canvas show through, a technique seen here in Royal Camp. After 1931 he simplified his style, using a limited palette to capture strong value contrasts and clearly outlined forms set against interlocking planes of color. Sheet's focus at this time turned toward the California landscape. This shift reflected the artist's growing interest in abstract design, which he called "inherent to the structure of life." It is largely because of Sheets and the influence he exerted on other California painters that abstraction became so important in mid-century watercolor painting.
Sheets was also an architect, mural designer and maker of tapestries and mosaics. Over a period of nearly 30 years, he executed more than 100 building commissions throughout the United States (often in collaboration with Susan Lautmann Hertel and Denis O'Connor). His mosaics and murals can be seen at Home Savings and Loan buildings throughout California and at the Garrison Theater at Scripps College.
Sheets's paintings are included in a great many collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum, New York, the Chicago Art Institute, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Albert Theodore Stewart
(b. Kensington, England 1900, d. Claremont 1965)
Albert Stewart was born in Kensington, England. In 1908 he immigrated to the United States with his family and was orphaned shortly thereafter. Through the intervention of a benefactor, Edwin T. Bechtel, Stewart was able to pursue his art studies at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design and the Art Students League in New York.
During World War I, Stewart joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Returning afterwards, he worked as an assistant to both Frederick MacMonnies and Paul Manship, for whom he later became a chief assistant (1925-1930). His sculpture was greatly influenced by the study of Egyptian, Greek and Romanesque sculpture. Animals were a recurring theme; examples are the hawk on the Ft. Moore Memorial pylon in Los Angeles, and the monumental bronze bear Silver King (1925) purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 1939 Stewart and his new wife Marion, also an artist, moved to California where he joined the Scripps College faculty, teaching sculpture until shortly before his death in 1965. Marion, known as Hoppy, taught weaving and textile design at Scripps from 1944-71.
Stewart's architectural sculpture, which he first undertook in the 1930s, includes the Baptistry Doors at St. Bartholomew's Church, New York, and the pediment at the Department of Labor Building, Washington, D.C. In addition to the figures on the Los Angeles County Courthouse (1956), his most visible works in Los Angeles are the heroic stone figures on the Scottish Rite Temple on Wilshire Boulevard (1960). Other well-known examples of his work include Christ the Teacher (1943) at Claremont Community Church in which he developed the attenuated figural style that can be seen here in Elijah. Stewart also produced the bronze fawn that drinks from the fountain in the courtyard of Malott Commons at Scripps College (1952), the bronze figures on the exterior of the Home Savings and Loan building in Pasadena (1961), and Man and Nature (1965), which stands in front of the Humanities Building at Scripps College. Shortly before his death, his 9-foot bronze statue Refugee Memorial was dedicated in Gouda, Holland (1964).
John Edward Svenson
(b. Los Angeles 1923)
A native of California, John Svenson attended the Claremont Graduate School where he worked with sculptor and Scripps College professor Albert Stewart, becoming his assistant and later collaborating with him on major projects.
Svenson first became known for Ranchero (1953), a 22-foot-high, 17-ton redwood sculpture originally located in the Court of the Redwoods at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona. In 2001, the work was re-dedicated and moved to the entrance of the Millard Sheets Gallery there. For thirty-six years Svenson served as the design and exhibition coordinator at the Fairgrounds.
Svenson is best known for his architectural sculpture including twenty-two bronze, wood and ceramic sculptures in Home Savings and Loan buildings, created in collaboration with Millard Sheets, along with numerous works in parks, hospitals, malls, hotels, airports, schools, museums and churches. Many know Svenson's works in this area such as Sun Dancer, a bronze porpoise fountain at the Laguna Niguel Ritz-Carlton, and George Chaffey at Ontario International Airport. He also produced several bronze busts for the Claremont Colleges and UCLA. Svenson has twice received the American Institute of Architecture Award for Excellence in Sculpture.
Svenson's work has been shown in museums and galleries around the world, including exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, National Academy of Art, New York, and Pasadena Art Museum (now Norton Simon Museum). He currently lives and works in Upland.
Milford Zornes
(b. Camargo, Oklahoma 1908)
Milford Zornes was born on his grandfather's farm in western Oklahoma and grew up in Idaho and California. At the age of twenty he hitchhiked across America, worked on the New York City docks and then shipped out for Europe. He returned to Los Angeles in 1930 to study at the Otis Art Institute with F. Tolles Chamberlin and later with Millard Sheets at Scripps College.
In the early 1930s Zornes became a member of the California Water Color Society and was one of the earliest exponents of the California Style. Los Angeles was a boomtown then, and artists were intrigued by the rapidly growing cityscape. Many of those working in watercolor during this period focused on street scenes and people as well as the stunning California landscapes of oceans, mountains and deserts. At that time, Zornes was painting landscapes, primarily from nature, and was included in the California Group traveling exhibition initiated in 1937.
Because of his work with the Works Progress Administration (the mural in the Claremont Post Office was completed under the auspices of this program in 1937), and as an official war artist during World War II stationed in Burma and India, Zornes was honored with a one-man exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where then President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt selected one of his watercolors to hang in the White House. The quick transformation from art student to nationally recognized artist helped Zornes launch a career that took him around the world and established him as a key figure among California Style artists.
Zornes's unwavering dedication to mastering the difficult watercolor medium led to a large body of outstanding works and numerous local and national exhibitions. He received considerable attention for using large sheets of paper, applying the transparent medium with broad, sweeping brush strokes, and deliberately leaving areas where the white paper would show through to define a shape or color. Zornes became known for innovative techniques, and his works are represented in major museums and galleries through the United States.
Teaching has also been a strong passion throughout his life. Zornes is a well known, much admired instructor, having taught at several institutions including Pomona College, Otis Art Institute, and Pasadena School of Fine Arts. Since the 1950s he has conducted watercolor workshops around the world. This year marks Milford Zornes's personal centennial. He celebrated his 100th birthday on January 25.     


Events related to the exhibition

Saturday, March 1, 3pm - The Way We Were
Author and local historian, Judy Wright, takes guests back to a Claremont that inspired artists featured in the exhibition. Executive Director William Moreno will introduce Judy Wright. Fee for non-members.
Saturday, March 15, 3pm
Reminiscence: John Edward Svenson discusses Albert Stewart
John Edward Svenson, exhibiting artist and former student, shares stories about his mentor and close friend, celebrated sculptor Albert Stewart, who taught sculpture at Scripps College for 25 years. First Generation Curator Steve Comba hosts. Fee for non-members.
Saturday, April 5, 3pm
Reminiscence: James Hueter discusses Henry Lee McFee
Artist James Hueter shares stories and discusses his former teacher, pioneering American Cubist painter Henry Lee McFee, who taught at Claremont College and Chouinard Art Institute. First Generation Curator Steve Comba hosts. Fee for non-members.
Saturday, April 12, 3pm
Reminiscence: Harrison and Marguerite McIntosh discuss Jean and Arthur Ames
Harrison McIntosh, internationally renowned ceramist, and his wife, Marguerite McIntosh, Founder of the Claremont Museum of Art, share their personal recollections of their former neighbors in Padua Hills, artists Jean and Arthur Ames, celebrated for their work ­ both individually and collaboratively - in glazed tile, glass mosaic, and enamel. First Generation Curator Steve Comba hosts. Fee for non-members.
Saturday, April 26, 3pm
Reminiscence: E. Gene Crain discusses several First Generation artists
E. Gene Crain, collector and friend to many of the First Generation artists, shares stories of his friendship with Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, and others, and discusses the history of his collection, widely acknowledged as one of the world's most comprehensive collections of work by artists from the "California School." First Generation Curator Steve Comba hosts. Fee for non-members.


About the Museum

The Claremont Museum of Art seeks to serve a diverse public as a regional museum of international significance and breadth. Grounded in Claremont's important artistic legacy, the Museum engages artists and audiences through a compelling program of exhibitions and educational programs that connect the visual arts with contemporary life. In addition to a diverse slate of exhibitions, the museum features an eclectic store offering contemporary and unexpected gifts from around the world. A comprehensive slate of educational programming and events are offered for all ages. Claremont Museum of Art is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. The Museum is located at 536 West First Street, Claremont, CA 91711. The Museum's hours and admission fees are available through its website.


Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy:

Milford Zornes.is the subject of a 3-minute video by Bill Anderson of Anderson Art Gallery in which he familiarizes the viewer in this short video with the works for the 99-year-old artist, Milford Zornes.

and these DVD or VHS videos:

Milford Zornes, Watercolor Master, is a 2003 production of Erickson-Zapata Productions. Pomona College Alumni News says of the video:

"Milford Zornes" is the first in a series of Artist Documentaries planned by this publisher. "At 95, Milford Zornes is one of California's great water color painters, a maverick and an adventurer. The Claremont, California resident is the last living founder of the California Water Color Movement that gained national attention during the 1930's for its bold, daring style... Zornes and other young California painters turned the gloomy days of the Great Depression into a golden era for West Coast art. Painters such as Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Emil Kosa, Phil Paradise, Lee Blair and Milford Zornes joined together to take what they did not know and change the way Americans looked at art and themselves... Zornes recalls the excitement, jealousies and competition among his contemporaries... This documentary is an amazing opportunity to meet Milford Zornes as he travels back in time to go behind the scenes to introduce the artists who took up the challenge to create a new art for a floundering nation... Zornes is still an incurable globetrotter, whose work captures nearly 80 years of history, people and places... "

Milford Zornes, Watercolor Master is available through Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA. 626-568-3665. http://www.pmcaonline.org/

Milford Zornes: A Life of Canvas, is an independent film on the life of California painter Milford Zornes, which premiered in September 2000. Screenplay by Sharon Dymmel who is an award-winning screenwriter for both the feature film and television broadcast industries.

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