The Irvine Museum

Irvine, CA





The word "Kaleidoscope" signifies a brilliant and interesting image arising from a multitude of individual bits of delightful, colorful and unusual fragments. The Irvine Museum's Summer 2000 exhibition is called "Kaleidoscope" because it too is a brilliant and wonderful show made up of unique and varied works of art, representing a multitude of artistic styles.

One of these unique artistic expressions represented in "Kaleidoscope" is the work of Arthur E. Beaumont (1890-1978), drawn from the significant gift of this artist's work given to The Irvine Museum by the Geoffrey C. Beaumont Family Collection. As a young man, Arthur Beaumont worked as a cowboy in Canada before moving to Los Angeles in 1915. In 1921, he enrolled at the Chouinard School of Art and took classes with the modernist Stanton MacDonald-Wright (1840-1973) all the while continuing his career as a commercial artist. He accepted a scholarship from Mrs. Chouinard in 1925 and went to Europe to further his art education by enrolling at the Académie Julian. In addition, he took night classes at Académie Colarossi and at La Grande Chaumiére. He returned to Los Angeles in 1927, and took a teaching position at Chouinard. (left: Arthur E. Beaumont (1890-1978), Heavy and Light Cruisers Range Far to Scout or Fight: The U.S.S. Astoria and the U.S.S. Phoenix, 1941, watercolor, Gift of the Geoffrey C. Beaumont Family Collection © National Geographic Society 1941)

The great turning point in Beaumont's career came in 1932, when he painted the first of three formal portraits of Admiral William D. Leahy. Leahy arranged a commission for Beaumont as Lieutenant in the U. S. Naval Reserve, a position he held for two years. Thereafter, from 1932 to 1977, Beaumont was the Official Artist of the U.S. Navy and he devoted his life and career to documenting the Navy.

In 1941, the National Geographic Society selected Beaumont to paint "Ships That Guard Our Ocean Ramparts," a series of paintings of battleships, destroyers and other naval vessels. The article was especially timely as it appeared in the September issue, barely three months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Throughout the war, Beaumont's paintings of the ships and crews that fought in the various battles were instrumental in shaping the public's view of the gallantry and determination of the U.S. Navy.

After the war, he continued as Official Artist of the U.S. Navy by recording the testing of the atomic bomb on Bikini Atoll. In 1957, Beaumont was the Official Artist in the U.S. Navy Arctic Expedition and in 1960, he painted at the South Pole as the Official Artist for Operation Deep Freeze. In 1967, he and his wife Dorothy moved to Leisure World and in 1964, Beaumont was bestowed the highest civilian award offered by the U.S. Navy, the Meritorious Public Service Citation for his service as "a distinguished marine artist." Arthur Beaumont died in his home on January 23, 1978.

Also represented in "Kaleidoscope" is the work of Frank H. Myers (1899-1956), selected from a large gift to the Museum from the Patricia Anne Clarke Myers Trust. Ohio born Frank H. Myers enrolled at the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1917, studying with Frank Duveneck (1848-1919) and John E. Weis (1892-1962), and later, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. in 1925, Myers married Ella Price, a young school teacher. They spent their honeymoon in Europe, staying in Paris and taking trips throughout Spain. The following year, they made an extended trip west, to Colorado and California, and on their return, spent several weeks in Santa Fe and Taos, where he met Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953).

Myers's work includes portraits as well as landscapes and urban scenes. His early paintings show a strong sense of realism handled in a bold and expressive brushstroke, and at other times, he produced brightly colored works showing his keen interest in French Impressionism. Gradually, he developed a strong sense of abstract design and in the late 1920s, he produced a number remarkably advanced paintings in an analytical style bordering on abstraction.

In the late 1930s, Myers's interest increasingly turned to painting the ocean. At the same time, his health began to falter and for no apparent reason, he experienced bouts of depression. In 1940, he took what was to be a year's leave of absence and moved to Monterey. Captivated by the beauty of the California coast, he remained the rest of his life. Thereafter, his work was almost exclusively seascapes, with an occasional portrait commission. A well-respected leader of the Carmel-Monterey art community, Myers served as president of the Carmel Art Association, in 1953. His painting companions included Armin Carl Hansen (1886-1957) and Donald Teague (born 1897), and together they defined the Monterey art scene for many years. After several years of recurring health problems, Frank Myers died of a heart attack on March 7, 1956.

Myers paintings are in the National Museum of American Art in Washington D. C., the Museum of New Mexico, the University of Cincinnati, and at The Irvine Museum.

In addition to several fine examples of Caiifornia Impressionism by noted artists such as Franz A. Bischoff (1864-1929), George Brandriff (1890-1936) and Anna Althea Hills (1882-1930), "Kaleidoscope" features paintings by artists whose works are not readily seen in local museums, including Conrad Buff (1886-1975), Tom Craig (1909-1969), Phil Dike (1906-1990), Helen Forbes (1891-1945), Frank Gavencky (1886-1966), George Gibson (born in 1904), Paul Sample (1896-1974), Millard Sheets (1907-1989) and Hamilton Wolf(1883-1967).


Resource Library editor's note:

This article was originally published in 2000.

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

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

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

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/4/11

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