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Masters of Light


Masters of Light is the first ever International Exhibition of California Plein-Air paintings to tour Europe. This landmark exhibition, comprised of fifty-eight nationally known California Impressionist paintings, is assembled from the collections of the Irvine Museum as well as loans from some of the most important private collections in the United States. These notable collectors include, in alphabetical order, Paul and Kathleen Bagley, Dr. and Mrs. Edward H. Boseker, The Buck Collection, John and Patricia Dilks, Jack and Suzie Kenefick, Dr. Oscar and Trudy Lemer, De Witt Clinton McCall, Raymond G. Redfern, Roy C. Rose and the Rose Family Collection, The Joan Irvine Smith Collection, Mr. and Mrs. George Stern, Jean and Laura Stern, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Stiles II, and The James Irvine Swinden Collection. (right: Guy Rose (1867-1925), On the River, c. 1910, oil on canvas, 24 x 19.5 inches, The Rose Family Collection)

Mindful that the Irvine Museum has the opportunity to make a good initial impression on the international art stage, the exhibition features only the very finest work by the following artists: Franz A. Bischoff, Maurice Braun, Benjamin C. Brown, Alice B. Chittenden, Alson S. Clark, Colin Campbell Cooper, Meta Cressey, Frank Cuprien, Paul Dougherty, Euphemia Charlton Fortune, John Frost, Paul Grimm, Armin C. Hansen, Sam Hyde Harris, Anna A. Hills, Thomas L. Hunt, Joseph Kleitsch, Paul Lauritz, Jean Mannheim, Alfred R. Mitchell, Frank H. Myers, Bruce E. Nelson, Edgar A. Payne, Hanson D. Puthuff, Joseph Raphael, Granville Redmond, Arthur G. Rider, William Ritschel, Guy Rose, Donna N. Schuster, Jack Wilkinson Smith, George Gardner Symons, Elmer Wachtel, Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel, and William Wendt.

This unique exhibition, initiated by James Irvine Swinden, vice-president of The Irvine Museum, and curated by Jean Stern, executive director, was in planning and development for over four years.

Masters of Light debuted at the Mona Bismarck Foundation Museum, Paris, situated at 34, Avenue de New York, just across the River Seine from the Eiffel Tower in the 16th Arrondissement. The show opened to the public on September 26, 2002 and continued to December 14, 2002. After a gala grand opening, under the auspices of United States Ambassador Howard H. Leach, Masters of Light earned enthusiastic reviews in the French art press and attracted record crowds during its three months stay in Paris. Often drawing more than 500 visitors per day, people frequently waited in long lines on the Avenue de New York to view the paintings. (left: Joseph Kleitsch (1881-1931), Red and Green, oil on canvas, 36 x 40 inches, The Irvine Museum)

Thereafter, Masters of Light opened at the eminent International Cultural Centre, in Kraków, Poland, on February 5, 2002 and continued to May 4, 2003. The opening ceremony was held on February 5, 2003. Unfortunately, the United States Ambassador and the Prime Minister of Poland, who were scheduled to address the reception, were both called to Washington D.C. to confer with President Bush on international issues. In their stead, the Polish Minister of Cultural Affairs, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy, and the Consul-General of the United States attended the reception. The following day, the exhibition immediately drew record crowds of people from throughout Poland. To accommodate the very large attendance, the International Cultural Centre had to open on Mondays, a day which they are normally closed. On April 25, the International Cultural Centre hosted a special symposium on efforts at environmental awareness that featured speakers from Poland and the United States. The exhibition closed on May 4 and the total attendance in Kraków was 33,000 visitors, far surpassing their previous single exhibition record of 8,000. (right: Arthur G. Rider (1886-1975), Bringing in the Boats, oil on canvas, 44 x 50 inches, Private Collection, Courtesy The Irvine Museum)

Following Poland, Masters of Light moved to The Centro Cultural del Conde Duque, a distinguished municipal museum in Madrid, Spain, where it will remain in July and August. Opening on June 18, under the patronage of United States Ambassador and Mrs. George Argyros, the exhibit will remain in Madrid through the summer and is expected to broaden its immense popularity with European museum patrons.

On October 4, 2003, after more than a year in Europe, Masters of Light will be coming home to The Irvine Museum. (left: Colin Campbell Cooper (1856-1937), Panama - California Exposition, San Diego, 1916, oil on board, 14 x 10.5 inches, Dr. and Mrs. Boseker Collection)

Masters of Light is accompanied by a full-color book, with texts by (Mr.) Jean Stern, executive director of The Irvine Museum, and Dr. William H. Gerdts, Professor of Art History and foremost authority on American Impressionism.

Schedule and venues for Masters of Light exhibition:

September 25, 2002 - January 15, 2003
Mona Bismark Foundation
34, Avenue de New York
75016 Paris, FRANCE
Phone: 011-33-1-4-72-33-888
February 5, 2003 - May 4, 2003
International Cultural Centre, Krakow
Rynek Glowny 25
Krakow 31-008, POLAND
Phone: 011-48-12-421-8601
June 18, 2003 - August 31, 2003
Centro Cultural del Conde Duque
Conde Duque 11
E - 28015 Madrid, SPAIN
Phone: 011-34-91-588-5822
October 2003 - January 17, 2004
The Irvine Museum
18881 Von Karman Avenue, Ste. 100
Irvine, CA 92612
Phone: (949) 476-0294


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.

This page was originally published in 2003 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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