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Spring in California
February 1 through May 24, 2003
In keeping with The Irvine Museum's annual tradition, the Spring 2003 show is an exhibition of landscape and flower paintings. The familiar nostalgic ideal of California as an unsullied Eden is evident in numerous paintings executed nearly a century ago. Bygone vistas of gentle rolling hills, covered with brilliant wildflowers as far as the eye could see, adorn the walls of the museum. Many of these works were painted in meadows and plateaus deep in the hills but a surprising number of them are located in or near what are now bustling cities. (left: Arthur G. Rider (1886-1975), Floral Harmony, oil on canvas, 44 x 44 inches, Courtesy of Robert M. Bethea)
One of California's best known painters of wildflower vistas lived in Santa Barbara. John Gamble (1863-1957) was living in San Francisco when the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed his house, studio and all his possessions. As many people did, Gamble left San Francisco and headed for Los Angeles. He stopped in Santa Barbara and decided to settle there. An avid painter of wildflowers, he became known for his glorious, color-filled scenes of poppies, lupines, wild lilacs, owl clover, and other blossoms. His colors were so bright that art writers often called his paintings "Gamble's prairie fires."
Granville Redmond (1871-1935) has always been one of the The Irvine Museum's most requested artists. Redmond, who was deaf and mute, is said to have preferred painting dark, moody and mystical, landscapes but the public overwhelmingly wanted his brilliantly colored, dazzling views of wildflowers.
Also on view are works by Maurice Braun (1877-1941), the celebrated San Diego plein-air painter. In 1918, Braun visited Yosemite National Park and painted several important views of the pristine region; Edgar Payne (1883-1947), known for his paintings of the Sierra Nevada Mountains; Arthur G. Rider (1886-1975) whose large, brilliantly colored still-life Floral Harmony graces the entry to the museum; and the pointillist painter William H. Clapp (1879-1954) a member of the "Society of Six" in the San Francisco Bay area, noted for their progressive approach to landscape painting.
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For biographical information on artists referenced in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists
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