In and Out of California: Travels of American Impressionists

by Deborah Epstein Solon


1. Paul Karlstrom, ed., On the Edge of America, California Modernist Art 1900-1950 (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1996), p. 1.

2. Bram Dijkstra, "Early Modernism in Southern California: Provincialism or Eccentricity," in ibid., p. 157.

3. See Avis Berman, "'National as the National Biscuit Company': The Academy, the Critics, and the Armory Show," in New York, National Academy of Design, Rave Reviews, American Art and Its Critics, 1826-1925 (New York, 2000), p. 132.

4. The first comprehensive work on American Impressionism was William H. Gerdts, American Impressionism (New York: Artabras, 1984).

5. See Oakland, California, The Oakland Museum of Art, Impressionism: The California View, text by Harvey Jones et al. (Oakland, 1981).

6. The most comprehensive study of regional art is William H. Gerdts, Art Across America. Two Centuries of Regional Painting (New York: Abbeville Press, 1990).

7. For Childe Hassam in Cos Cob, see Susan Larkin, The Cos Cob Art Colony; Impressionists on the Connecticut Shore (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2001). For Hassam in Old Lyme, see Warren Adelson, Jay Canter, and William H. Gerdts, Childe Hassam, Impressionist (New York: Abbeville Press, 1999).

8. For an interesting overview of the criticism, see Margaret C. Conrads, "In the Midst of an Era of Revolution: The New York Art Press and the Annual Exhibitions of the National Academy of Design in the 1870s," in Rave Reviews (note 3).

9. "The Slaughter of Mr. Chase's Paintings," Art Amateur 25, 5 (April 1891), p. 115.

10. Henry James, "John Singer Sargent," Harper's New Monthly Magazine 75 (October 1887), p. 683.

11. "Boston Art at Chicago," Boston Evening Transcript, January 14, 1893.

12. Brush and Pencil 2 (June 1898), p. 143.

13. Irene Sargcnt, "Municipal Art: A Lesson From Foreign Towns," The Craftsman 4, 4 (July 1904).

14 "Southern California Scenery," Land of Sunshine, August 1, 1894, p. 64.

15. Susan Landauer, "The Culture and Consumption of California Plein-Air Painting," in Irvine, The Irvine Museum, California Impressionists (Irvine, 1996), p. 14.

16. Frederick Roland Miner, "California --The Landscapist's Land of Heart's Desire," Western Art 2, 1 (June/August 1914), p. 31.

17. Rose V.S. Berry, "California and Some California Painters," The American Magazine of Art 15, 6 (June 1924), p. 280.

18. "Juries and Other Fetishes," The Graphic, March 4. 1916. The author wishes to thank Will South for generously sharing his archival material on Guy Rose.

19 Antony Anderson, "Six Landscape Painters of Southern California," California's Magazine 1 (1916), p. 66.

20. Eloise J. Roorbach, "The Indigenous Art of California: Its Pioneer Spirit and Vigorous Growth," The Craftsman 22 (August 1912).

21. Edgar Lloyd Hampton, "Los Angeles as an American Art Centre," Current History 24, 6 (September 1926), in Gerdts American Art Research Library, New York. The author wishes to thank Dr. William H. Gerdts for generously allowing access to his library.

22. Everett Carroll Maxwell, Fine Arts Journal 34 (March 1916), p. 138.

23. Richard Candida Smith states in relation to Modernists that "One aspect of geographical isolation for visual artists was a general inability to see major works in their original form...." See Smith's Utopia and Dissent, Art, Poetry and Politics in California (Berkeley, California: University of California Press,

1995), p. 5.

24. Alma May Cook. "What Art Means to California," Art in California (San Francisco: R.L Bernier, 1916), p. 74. The author thanks Phil and Marian Kovonick for this citation.

25. Michael McManus, "A Focus on Light," in Laguna Beach, California, Laguna Art Museum, California Light (Laguna Beach, 1990), p. 14.

26. Carey McWilliams, Southern California: An Island on the Land (Salt Lake City, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 1946; reprint, 1994), p.129. See also Landauer (note 15), p. 42.

27. One of the first art historians to take a revisionist stance was Gerald Ackermen in "Thomas Eakins and His Parisian Masters Gèrome and Bonnat," Gazette des Beaux-Arts 73 (April 1969), pp. 235-56.

28. Joachim Smith, "The Splendid Sun: Reflections on the Light and Color of Southern California," in California Light (note 25), p. 83.

29. Quoted in McManus, " A Focus on Light" (note 25), p. 16.

30. "Alson Clark, Globe-Trotter Artist," unidentified newspaper clipping, Alson Clark Papers, unfilmed, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (hereafter known as ACP/AAA).

31. Antony Anderson, "Of Art and Artists," Los Angeles Times, January 7, 1923.

32. In Margaret Traux Hunter's "Biography of Alson Skinner Clark," a typescript interview with Medora Clark, 1956, Medora says the following: "A rebellion was brewing at the Art Students League. There were rumours that William Merritt Chase, then the foremost painter in the East, was contemplating a school of his own. This was soon a 'fait a compli' [sic] and Alson, along with a group of talented students seceded and became the nucleus of the new school. Clark's studies with Chase were not always seamless. Medora recounted the following incident: "It was Chase's custom to ask each student at the end of the week to bring in a composition of his own. Alson, conscientious, but inexperienced, and still influenced by his choices in museums worked feverishly during the week and turned in as his composition a lugubrious conception which he felt was satisfyingly masterful. 'And whose is this?' Chase asked, peering incredulously at Alson's picture. 'Mine, Mr. Chase,' Alson confessed. 'And just what is it, may I ask?' "Death going over the battlefield,' Alson explained a little lamely.' 'Ah, I see. And which is death and which is the battlefield?' See ACP/AAA (note 30).

33. Alson Clark. unpublished diaries, in ibid.

34. Ibid.

35. For a biographical essay on Clark, see Jean Stern, "Alson Clark. An American at Home and Abroad, in California Light (note 25 ), pp. 113-36. See also Jean Stern, Alson S. Clark (Los Angeles: Peterson Publishing Co., 1983).

36. Alson Clark, unpublished diaries, in ACP/AAA (note 30).

37. Ibid.

38. See Peter Hastings Falk, Exhibition Records of the Art institute of Chicago (New York: Soundview Press, 1990), pp. 209-210.

39. Medora Clark, unpublished diaries, in ACP/AAA (note 30).

40. These were actually the second generation of American Givernois. Among the first group to work there were the artists Willard Metcalf (1858-1925), Theodore Wendel (1857-1932), John Leslie Breck (1860-1899), Lilla Cabot Ferry (1848-1933), Theodore Robinson (1852-1896), and John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). For information on Americans in Giverny, see William H. Gerdts, Lasting Impressions: American Painters in France, 1865-1915, exh. cat. (Evanston, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1992).

41. Clark proposed to the chief of the department of fine arts that the paintings be exhibited as a group. Although there was some reservation, Mr. Trask responded: "I recognize quite fully the value of your suggestion and the desirability of showing your pictures in the Exposition as a group because of the wide public interest which they will arouse, and I am venturing to write you again quite frankly. The giving of a gallery to you is going to arouse some criticism on the part of the many painters who would be glad to have galleries for their own work, but who will not get what they want; but criticism is going to be aroused anyhow and the knowledge I have of your past work, the respect I have for it and your assurance that these Panama pictures are fully up to your standard leads me to take a rather radical step; I shall have to ask you to help me convince the people that we have done wisely." Typed letter, signed Trask to Alson Clark, ACF/AAA (note 30).

42. Margaret Traux Hunter, interview with Medora Clark (note 32), part II, 4, in ACP/AAA (note 30).

43. Ibid., pp. 26-27.

44. Medora Clark, "European Landscape Versus California," California Southland, in ACP/AAA (note 30).

45. For the most comprehensive study of Guy Rose, see Oakland, California, The Oakland Museum of Art, and Irvine, California, The Irvine Museum of Art, Guy Rose, American Impressionist, text by Will South (Oakland, 1995).

46. For example, in February 1920 he had an exhibition at Henry Reinhardt & Sons that included work done in California. He is listed in the exhibition records for The Art Institute of Chicago for the years 1919, 1920, 1922, 1924, and 1925.

47. Colin Campbell Cooper, "Autobiographical Notes, Santa Barbara Public Library, n.d., in Gerdts American Art Research Library, New York.

48. Los Angeles Times, October 2, 1938, Ferdinand Perrett Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution (hereafter known as FPP/AAA).

49. The author wishes to acknowledge Phil and Marian Kovinick for their work on the chronology and exhibition history of Colin Campbell Cooper, and to thank Ray Redfern for providing these research documents.

50. Cooper (note 47).

51. "Original Notes of William M. Chase on His Talk to His Students in Philadelphia," n.d., as quoted in Ronald Pisano, A Leading Spirit in American Art: William Merritt Chase, 1849-1916 (University of Washington: Henry Art Gallery, 1983), p. 150.

52. Louis Baury, "The Message of Manhattan," The Bookman 33, 6, p. 593, in Gerdts American Art Research Library, New York.

53. These included Pan Fountain, San Diego Exposition; Pool and Canadian Building, San Diego Exposition; The Lily Pool, San Diego Exposition.

54. For a comprehensive list, see the exhibition history compiled by Marian and Phil Kovinick (note 49).

55. Hazel Boyer, "A Notable San Diego Painter," California Southland, roll 3854, frame 53-54, FPP/AAA (note 48).

56. For information on Braun, see San Diego, San Diego Museum of Art, Second Nature: Four Early San Diego Landscape Painters, text by Martin E. Peterson (San Diego, 1991).

57. Ibid., p. 25.

58. Boyer (note 55).

59. Helen Comstock, "Painter of the East and West," International Studio, March 1925, p. 485. For information on the MacBeth Galleries inventory, the author thanks Gwendolyn Owens, assistant director, curatorial affairs, Canadian Center for Architecture.

60. "Maruice Braun at Cannell-Chaffin's," Los Angeles Times, April 6, 1924, section III, reel 3854, frame 55, FPP/AAA (note 48).

61. "First showing of European Pictures at Galerie Beaux Arts," San Francisco Chronicle, October 16, 1927, in E. Charlton Fortune Archives, Monterey Museum of Art, California (hereafter known as FAMMA). The author would like to thank Curator Mary Murray, Monterey Museum of Art, for access to the museum's artist files.

62. For information, see "E. Charlton Fortune, autobiographical manuscript, in FAMMA (note 61).

63. Ibid.. p. 3.

64. Ibid., p. 5.

65. Ibid., p. 6.

66. Typed letter signed, St. Ives, Cornwall, England, January 20, 1922, in FAMMA (note 61).

67. Anna Cora Winchell, San Francisco Chronicle, 1922, in FAMMA (note 61).

68. "London Art Galleries." The Architect, July 22, 1921, in FAMMA (note 61).

69. The Daily Telegraph, London, July 1921, in FAMMA (note 61).

70. For information on St. Ives, see Tom Cross, Painting the Warmth of the Sun: St. Ives Artists, 1939-1975 (Tiverton, England: Westcounty Books, 1995).

71.Typed letter signed to Ethel Grubb, St. Ives, Cornwall, Jan. 20, 1922, in FAMMA (note 61).

72. ·"E. Charlton Fortune" (note 62), p. 8.

73. San Francisco Chronicle, October 21, 1927, in FAMMA (note 61).

74. In 1928 she exhibited Drying Sails, St. Tropez.

75 "Ritschel Memorial Show," The Carmel Pine Cone, October 14, 1949, p. 1, in the William Ritschel Archives, Monterey Museum of Art (hereafter known as RAMMA).

76. Arthur Millier. Los Angeles Times, Sunday, October 26, n.d., in RAMMA (note 75).

77. See unidentified exhibition review, New York Tribune, February 1926, in RAMMA (note 75).

78. "Royal Academy Honors Ritschel," unidentified newspaper clipping, in RAMMA (note 75).

79. William Ritschel, "What is the Meaning of Art and Its Value to the People?" All Arts Gossip 1 (July 1925), p. 3.

80. Adele Gilbert, "Secretary of Art in U.S. Cabinet is Ritschel Idea," Monterey Peninsula Herald, June 7, 1934, in RAMMA (note 75).

81. "Guy Rose's Work, A Review of the Young Artists' Career," Los Angeles Herald, October 4, 1891, section 7, p.l.

82. Antony Anderson. "Of Art and Artists," Los Angeles Times, February 20, 1916, section 3, p. 4.

83. Rose did return to Los Angeles briefly in the fall of 1891, but, according to Will South, "Rose himself may have assessed the local scene and felt that the support for art and resident artists in Los Angeles had not substantially developed since he left San Francisco in 1885." He returned to New York in 1892. See Guy Rose (note 45), p. 28.

84. Jean Stern, "Guy Rose and the Los Angeles Art Community, 1914-1925," in ibid., p. 114.

85. See David Dearinger, ed., Rave Reviews (note 3).

86. Elizabeth Bingham, "Art Exhibits and Comments, October 28, 1922, Guy Rose scrapbook in Will South archival files.

87. Guy Rose to Antony Anderson, Los Angeles Times, March 12, 1916.

88. Fred Hogue, " A Hungarian Artist," Los Angeles Times, June 25, 1928, section 2, pp. 4-5.

89. Antony Anderson, "Of Art and Artists," Los Angeles Times, July 23, 1922, section 3, p. 42.

90. Ibid.

91. Antony Anderson, "Variety in Show of Kleitsch's Paintings," South Coast News, reel 2720, Stendahl Art Gallery Papers, Archives of American Art (hereafter known as SAG/AAA).

92. Arthur Millier, "Kleitsch Memorial," Los Angeles Times, June 18, 1933, section 2, pp. 4-7.

93. Laguna Life, July 15, 1921, p. 4. The author thanks Phil and Marian Kovinick for this citation.

94. "Joseph Kleitsch Looks at France," Los Angeles Times, May 13, 1928, section 3, p. 16, reel 2720, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

95. For information on Laguna Beach, see Laguna Beach, California, Laguna Art Museum, Colonies of American Impressionism: Cos Cob, Old Lyme, Shinnecock and Laguna Beach, text by Deborah Solon and Will South (Laguna Beach, 1999).

96. The most comprehensive information on Kleitsch is in Patricia Trenton, "Joseph Kleitsch. A Kaleidoscope of Color," California Light (note 25), pp. 137-56. The author would also like to thank Phil and Marian Kovinick for graciously sharing their research on Kleitsch.

97. Unidentified newspaper clipping, reel 2720, frame 202, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

98. "Joseph Kleitsch Looks at France" (note 94).

99. Antony Anderson, Introduction to Stendahl Galleries Exhibition of Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch, May 1928, reel 2720, frames 161-63, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

100. "Joseph Kleitsch Died Suddenly in Santa Ana," South Coast News, November 30, 1931, p. 12.

101. San Francisco Chronicle, January 1, 1928.

102. Caroline Walker, "Native California Wins Renown for Brilliant Landscape Portrays," Los Angeles Herald, December 3, 1923, reel 2720, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

103. Alma May Cook, "Days of Freak Art Numbered, Conservatism Trend Noted," Los Angeles Evening Herald Express, March 1, 1937, reel 2720, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

104. Lee Shipley, "The Lee Side O'LA," Los Angeles Times, February 26, 1937, reel 2721, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

105. "Jules Pagès Now At Stendahl Gallery," unidentified newspaper clipping, reel 2720, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

106. Herman Reuter "Jules Pagès' Paintings Given Praise," Hollywood-Citizens News, February 27, 1937, reel 2720, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

107. Unidentified newspaper clipping, reel 2723, frame 987, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

108. Marie Louise Handley, "Gardner Symons, Optimist," Outlook 105 (July 27, 1913), pp. 82-83.

109. I wish to thank Nancy Moure for allowing me access to her research, "The Laguna Beach Art Association, History to 1955, As Extracted From the Pages of the South Coast News."

110. Arthur Millier, "Symons and Schofield, George and Martin Baer Offer Fine Painting Shows, Los Angeles Times, March 17, 1929, section 3, p. 16.

111. "Symons, Founder of Laguna Art Colony Dies, 65," unidentified newspaper clipping, reel 3856, frame 598, in FPP/AAA (note 48).

112. H. Raymond HenIy, "Painter's Work on Behalf of the Southland Art Told By Writer," unidentified newspaper clipping, reel 3862, frame 50, in FPP/AAA (note 48).

113. Antony Anderson, "Edgar Payne, Painter and World Traveler," South Coast News, June 21, 1929.

114. Los Angeles Times, September 17, 1911, section 3, p. 25.

115. Fred Hogue, "God of the Mountains." Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1927, section 2, pp. 4-6.

116. Fred Hogue, "The Art of Edgar Alwyn Payne, Los Angeles Times, May 23, 1926, section II, p. 4.

117. "Robert Vonnoh Speaks at Art Gallery," Laguna Life, April 28, 1922, p. 10. The two artists evidently knew each other quite well, for in 1926 Earl Stendahl wrote to Joseph Kleitsch that "Payne is in Connecticut, and is building a studio near Vonnoh." Typed letter signed from Earl Stendahl to Joseph Kleitsch, November 8, 1926, reel 2720, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

118. "Edgar Payne Opens One-Man Show on the 15th at Stendahl Gallery," Laguna Life, reel 2721, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

119. Antony Anderson, "Edgar Payne, Painter and World Traveler," South Coast News, June 21, 1929, reel 2721, in SAG/AAA (note 91).

120. "Edgar Payne's Work from the Riviera," unidentified newspaper clipping, reel 2721, in SAG/AAA (note 91).


About the Author

Deborah Epstein Solon is curator of the exhibition In and Out of California: Travels of American Impressionists. Dr. Solon is adjunct curator of the Laguna Art Museum.


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Resource Library editor's note:

The above essay was rekeyed and reprinted on December 23, 2002 in Resource Library Magazine with permission of Laguna Art Museum. The essay was previously included in an illustrated catalogue for the exhibition In and Out of California: Travels of American Impressionists, (ISBN #0-940872-26-9) held November 3, 2002 - March 2, 2003 at Laguna Art Museum. Images accompanying the text in the exhibition catalogue were not reproduced with this reprinting. If you have questions or comments regarding the essay, or if you have interest in obtaining a copy of the exhibition catalogue, please contact Laguna Art Museum through either this phone number or web address: 949-494-6531;

Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Laguna Art Museum in Resource Library. This page was originally published in 2002 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

Readers may also enjoy these articles and essays:

For California art history overall see California Art History, California Artists: 19th-21st Century, California Impressionism and California Regionalism and California School of Painters.

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

Following are examples of representational artworks created by artists, or photographs of artists, referenced in the above article or essay. Images may not be specific to this article or essay and are likely not cited in it. Images were obtained via Wikimedia Commons, which believes the images to be freely available for presentation here.  Another source readers may find helpful is Google Images.


(above: Frederick Childe Hassam, West Indian Girl, 1914, oil on canvas, Harvard Art Museums. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


(above: John Henry Twachtman, Old Holley House, Cos Cob, c.1890-1900, oil on canvas, 25.06 x 25.13 inches,  courtesy of The Athenaeum. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


(above:  Alson S. Clark (1876-1949), Reflection, 1922. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


(above: Maurice Braun, Crashing Surf Near Point Loma, California, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, American Eagle Fine Arts, Benicia, California. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


(above: William Merritt Chase (American, Williamsburg, Indiana 1849-1916 New York), At the Seaside, c. 1892, Oil on canvas, 20 ? 34 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876-1967), 1967. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)

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