Editor's note: The Hearst Art Gallery at Saint Mary's College provided source material to Resource Library for the following article or essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Hearst Art Gallery at Saint Mary's College directly through either this phone number or web address:

Superbly Independent: Early Western Landscapes by Annie Harmon, Mary DeNeale Morgan, and Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel

July 25 - September 19, 2010


Tenacious and talented early women landscape painters often received scant attention from the art world. Although it was unusual at the turn of the century to find women artists working atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific or deep in the middle of a pine forest, that is just where these three artists spent much of their careers.

The Hearst Art Gallery first became interested in Annie Harmon because of her connection to landscape master William Keith -- she was his painting student for many years, and became a family member when her brother married Keith's daughter. Keith's pupils were primarily women, and he was known to encourage others in their pursuit of a painting career.

While researching Harmon and her relationship with her mentor, interesting parallels emerged with her contemporaries Mary DeNeale Morgan and Marion Kavanagh Wachtel. By presenting the three gifted, independent and pioneering painters together, we are also able to look at the breadth and variety of the California landscape -- from the densely wooded forests of the north, to the Bay Area and the spectacularly scenic central coast, to the bright, strong colors and tones of the desert and the Southland.

This exhibition and accompanying catalogue would not have been possible without the generous support of two dedicated collectors, Betty Boone Williams and Alberta Parker Horn. Works are also on loan from museums, galleries, public and private collectors. The richly illustrated color catalog includes a complete checklist of paintings, with biographical essays by Jean Stern, Executive Director of The Irvine Museum, Erika Esau and Julie Armistead, the exhibition's guest curator. (right: front cover of catalogue for the exhibition, courtesy of the Hearst Art Gallery. Annie Harmon (1885 - 1930), Trees, Meadow Hills, Menlow Park, oil on canvas, 12 x 18 inches, ca: 1900-14. Collection of Betty Boone Williams)

Additional lenders who have made this exhibition possible include The Irvine Museum, the Monterey Museum, the City of Carmel, Terry and Paula Trotter, Trotter Galleries, Carmel and Pacific Grove, the North Point Gallery, San Francisco, the Roger Epperson and Carol Alderdice Collection, the Schulze Family Collection, the Edward H. and Yvonne J. Boseker Collection, Vintage Bank Antiques, Petaluma, the Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Eric Del Pietro, Adrian and Penny Bellamy, James J. Rieser Fine Art, Mr. and Mrs. Norman B. Young, and George Marchand.


Catalogue essays concerning the exhibition

To view the essay by Julie Armistead please click here.

To view the essay by Erika Esau please click here.

To view the essay by Jean Stern please click here.


Images from the exhibition

To view selected images from the exhibition please click here.


Opening Events

Lecture by art historian Erika Esau, Ph.D., author of Images of the Pacific Rim: Australia and California, 1850-1935, free admission

Sunday, July 25, 2 pm; Reception following in the Art Gallery Patio. Exhibition admission: Fee; K-12 graders free

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For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Hearst Art Gallery in Resource Library.

rev. 7/23/10

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