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Well of Gold and Other Paintings of Summer in California

May 31 through September 20, 2003


For Summer, 2003, The Irvine Museum offers a show that portrays California as experienced by our Plein-Air, or outdoors, artists of the past century. WELL OF GOLD, the name of this exhibition is also the title of a painting by Phil Dike (1906-1990) from 1928. Painted in broad strokes of thick oil paint, it shows a small family farm and the hard working people who struggle to make their future in this land of great potential. Another painting of bygone California is RAIN AFTER FROST, 1937, by Dike's friend and painting companion Rex Brandt (1914-2000). Set on a railroad crossing, Brandt painted the feeling of the cold, windy and dreary day with the sentimentality of a simpler time and place. (right: Phil Dike (1906-1990), Well of Gold, oil on canvas, 26 x 30 inches)

Several of the Museum's important landscape painters are shown in this exhibition. Guy Rose (1867-1925) painted LIFTING FOG, LAGUNA in 1918, when he visited Orange County to participate in the first exhibition by the Laguna Beach Art Association. William Wendt (1865-1946) is represented by three paintings, including CANYON COTTAGE, showing an elegant Craftsman Cottage in Laguna Beach. Among works by the many important women artists of California are GIRL WITH A MIRROR, a self-portrait by Donna Schuster (1883-1953), THE SPANISH SHAWL, 1913, by Meta Cressey (1882-1964), and FURNACE CREEK WASH, a powerful view of Death Valley by Helen Forbes (1891-1945), one of the significant modernist masters.

Two other important paintings of the southern California coast in this show are INNER HARBOR, 1929, an ethereal rendition of San Pedro Harbor by Paul Sample (1896-1974) and AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL, of 1918, by noted Laguna Beach artist and German-born immigrant Karl Yens (1868-1945). Painted when the United States was fighting World War I, AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL shows Laguna Beach as a small, idyllic village, far removed from the bustling tourist mecca it is today.

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

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.

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

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