The Irvine Museum

Irvine, CA

(949) 476-2565


Painted Light: California Impressionist Paintings: The Gardena High School/Los Angeles Unified School District Collection

Painted Light: California Impressionist Paintings from The Gardena High School/Los Angeles Unified School District Collection, a major assemblage of plein air paintings by many of California's greatest Impressionist painters, will be displayed at the Irvine Museum from May 8 through September 25, 1999. This collection originated in 1919, when a painting was purchased by the graduating class and presented as a gift to Gardena High School. The practice was continued by subsequent classes and the collection grew. After many years of languish, the collection was in danger of irretrievable loss when the art gallery at California State University Dominguez Hills decided to mount a significant restoration project. With a generous grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation, CSU Dominguez Hills directed the restoration and organized the exhibition, which opened at the University Art Gallery on January 19, 1999. Right: John Frost (1890-1937), Desert Twilight, oil on canvas, 27 x 32 inches

The exhibition was produced by Kathy Zimmerer, of CSU Dominguez Hills, and curated by Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum, who also wrote the catalogue essay and biographies of the artists. "These paintings are representative of one of the most remarkable and distinctive schools of regional American art," said Stern about the "Painted Light" works, assembled after three labor-intensive years of locating, identifying and restoring them to their original glory. "The artists stood apart in their use of color to portray the intense light of the Southern California landscape. The return of this collection to the public eye is a minor miracle."

Artists represented include Franz A. Bischoff, Jessie Arms Botke, Maurice Braun, Benjamin Chambers Brown, Alson Skinner Clark, Leland Curtis, Maynard Dixon, Victor Clyde Forsythe, John Frost, Joe Duncan Gleason, Armin Carl Hansen , Sam Hyde Harris, Clarence Kaiser Hinkle , Frank Tenney Johnson, Emil Jean Kosa, Jr., Jean Mannheim, Peter Nielsen, Edgar Alwin Payne, Hanson Duvall Puthuff, John Hubbard Rich, Carl Rungius, Walter Elmer Schofield, Clyde Eugene Scott, Jack Wilkinson Smith, James Guifford Swinnerton, Marion Kavanagh Wachtel, William Wendt and Orrin Augustine White.

Editor's note: Please see the prior article: CSU Dominguez Hills Presents Restored California Impressionist Works in Major Exhibit Funded by W.M. Keck Foundation

and this related video:

Visiting...With Huell Howser #726 - GARDENA ART is a 28 minute video by Huell Howser Productions. "Beginning in 1919, the graduating classes of Gardena High School bestowed gifts of paintings upon their beloved school. This program lasted until 1956, and amassed more than 90 works. Soon after the program ended, many of the paintings were stored away and forgotten about. Along with several Gardena High School Alumni, Huell visits the Irvine Museum to see an exhibit of 31 fully-restored paintings from this important collection." Text courtesy of Huell Howser Productions.

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rev. 5/9/07

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