The Irvine Museum

Irvine, CA



Southern California Masters of Landscape: Payne, Redmond and Wendt


Edgar Payne (1883-1947), Granville Redmond (1871-1935) and William Wendt (1865-1946) are perhaps the best known of the Southern California landscape painters. Each name conjures up a vivid aspect of California's beautiful land; Payne's work encompasses the snow-capped peaks and icy-cold lakes of the Sierra Nevada; Redmond is known for majestic oak trees at sunset and fields of poppies and lupines; Wendt loved to paint green meadows and valleys, ringed by oaks and sycamores.

None of these artists was horn in California. However, all three loved California; they remained there and died there. Granville Redmond arrived first. He was born in Philadelphia and at the age of 3, he nearly died of scarlet fever. He recovered but lost his hearing and remained deaf and mute all his life. His family moved to California in 1874. William Wendt was born in Germany and came to America in his teens. He lived in Chicago for several years before coming to Los Angeles in 1906. Edgar Payne came from the Midwest, having lived in Chicago for several years before coming to live in Laguna Beach in 1918.

Payne's work spans a variety of landscape genres, including mountain ranges, rolling hills, desert views and rocky shores. One of his best known paintings on display in this show, The Sierra Divide, of 1921, has been illustrated in numerous books and articles on California Plein-Air painting. There are also several works done in Orange County, including Capistrano Canyon, Canyon Mission Viejo, Sycamore in Autumn, Orange County Park; (now called Irvine Park) and Surf at Laguna.

Redmond has always been one of the most popular artist featured at the Irvine Museum. His paintings in this 2001 exhibition include Flowers Under the Oaks, a brilliant painting of poppies and lupines in bright sunlight; Tending the Flock, an early morning view of sheep along the Newport Back Bay; California Oaks, 1910, a dramatic and moody scene of majestic oak trees in a stormy sky; and Nocturne, a large, deep-blue night scene of moonlit marshes at Bolsa Chica. (Granville Redmond: Flowers Under the Oaks, oil, 20 x 25 inches)

Wendt painted a significant number of views in early Orange County and this show displays many that viewers will immediately recognize. One of these, Crystal Cove, 1912, shows this jewel of Orange County's coast as it looked before any houses were constructed there. Santa Ana River, 1923, offers a markedly different view of what is now a sterile, concrete-bound drainage channel, criss-crossed by massive freeway bridges and overpasses. The large and impressive When Fields Lie Fallow, 1931, recalls the biblical passage when God instructed the Israelites to work the land for six years and then let it rest for one year to recover.

Editor's note: On January 9, 2006 TFAO volunteer B. A. Hazeltine granted permission to Resource Library to publish the following photograph. One of the opportunities available to TFAO volunteers is photographing on-location scenes that relate to views depicted in works by historic artists. Since 1997 images of thousands of paintings and sculptures have been published in Resource Library in connection with its articles. The images are of a myriad objects in nature including landscapes, marine scenes, architectural structures, and more. Many people are fascinated with viewing the artistic interpretation of scenes through painting or sculpture in proximity to realistic photographs of the same scenes. These juxtapositions are educational for historic and other reasons, are enjoyable to see, and provide a window for further understanding the impression of nature created by the artist. Resource Library's readers further appreciate this photography as art in its own right. Volunteers are invited to survey the images of paintings and sculptures contained in Resource Library and choose related scenes for their photography.


(above: California Poppies and Lupine, 2005, photo by B. A. Hazeltine, © 2005 B.A. Hazeltine. Poppies and lupine were frequently featured in the paintings of Granville Redmond. This photograph was taken near Los Olivos, CA in the Spring of 2005, a remarkable year for wildflower blooms in California)


Resource Library editor's note:

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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This article was originally published in 2000.

Rev. 8/27/09

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

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

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/28/11

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