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California's Native Grandeur: Preserving Vanishing Landscapes


California's Native Grandeur: Preserving Vanishing Landscapes opens January 24, and continues to May 15, 2004. In conjunction with The Nature Conservancy of California, The Irvine Museum will display an exhibition that uses historical landscape paintings to illustrate the natural beauty of the seven ecological regions of California: the South Coast, the Central Coast, the Desert, the Great Valley, the Sierra Nevada, the Shasta-Cascades, and the North Coast. This unique exhibition is intended to raise public awareness to the delicate balance under which California's wealth of diverse plant and animal species exists. (right: Benjamin C. Brown (1865-1942), Autumn Glory, oil on canvas, 28 x 36 inches, The Irvine Museum)

California's Native Grandeur: Preserving Vanishing Landscapes is comprised of 43 important landscape paintings, featuring the works of artists Guy Rose (1867-1925), William Wendt (1865-1946), Granville Redmond (1871-1935), Maynard Dixon (1875-1946), Thomas Hill (1829-1908), William Keith (1838-1911), Edgar Payne (1883-1947), Hanson D. Puthuff (1875-1973), Elmer Wachtel (1864-1929) Marion K. Wachtel (1876-1954), and several others. (left: Edgar A. Payne (1883-1947), The Sierra Divide, 1921, oil on canvas, 24 x 28 inches, Private Collection, Courtesy The Irvine Museum)

In addition to works from the collections of The Irvine Museum, the exhibition includes paintings from the Fresno Metropolitan Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, in Sacramento, the Oakland Museum, and the Hearst Art Gallery, of Saint Mary's College in Moraga.

The Irvine Museum venue for this remarkable exhibition is the last opportunity to view a show that has traveled to the Oakland Museum, Napa Valley Museum, San Diego Natural History Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and most recently the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

In Native Grandeur, the fully illustrated book that accompanies the exhibition, Professor Edward o. Wilson states that "California's approximately 4,300 species of flowering plants make up one-fourth of all those occurring in the United States and Canada combined, and half are endemic...in other words, found nowhere else." Wilson also states that "the aesthetic and spiritual value wildlands provide, and California possesses in fortunate abundance, are equally important to human welfare."(right: Paul Grimm (1892-1974), Desert Springtime, oil on board, 24 x 18 inches, Private Collection, Courtesy The Irvine Museum)


Additional text from the exhibition gallery guide:

The artists showcased in this exhibition celebrated natural splendor that once seemed as endless as the sky. Viewed today, their paintings fill us with awe and sadness, but also with gratitude. For although some of the pristine settings they depict are lost forever, much of California's native grandeur remains - to give thanks for, and to safeguard for future generations.

The Nature Conservancy of California works with a wide range of partners - including other conservation organizations, local land trusts, landowners, businesses, and public agencies-to protect places as wild and beautiful as the ones preserved in these paintings so that our children and their children may experience them first hand. With the support of others who share our mission, we can ensure that California's precious living landscapes remain more than beautiful framed memories. (left: Hanson Putuff (1875-1942), Mystical Hills, oil on canvas, 26 x 34 inches, The Irvine Museum)


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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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