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From Sea to Shining Sea: A Reflection of America


"From Sea to Shining Sea is a compendium of landscapes, seascapes, urban scenes, farms and factories, all painted with the aim of depicting the two enduring themes of American art: the people and the land...the exhibition offers a rich and varied pageant that affirms the multitude of ideas, sensibilities, and individual tastes that characterize who we are and where we live."

Jean Stern, From Sea to Shining Sea Exhibition Catalogue


The Haggin Museum is presenting an exhibition of contemporary American landscape art entitled, From Sea to Shining Sea: A Reflection of America, that opened to the public May 9, 2004 and runs through July 3, 2004. Forty-seven of America's outstanding realist and impressionist painters have collaborated for two years to create ninety-four paintings that celebrate the grandeur and diversity of America's landscape. On view will be images inspired by the nation's majestic mountains and rugged coast, its subtler rural countryside, and its industrial and urban sites. (right: John Cosby, First Light)

The co-curators for this exhibition are Gil Dellinger of Stockton, California and John Cosby of Laguna Beach, California. Gil is well-known and widely respected in the local arts community. He taught for thirty years in the Art Department at University of the Pacific and is a member of The Haggin Museum's Board of Trustees. Both he and Cosby have earned national reputations for the excellence of their landscape art.

In planning this exhibition, Dellinger and Cosby envisioned an effort in which artists from very different backgrounds and regions of the country would work together, nurturing and inspiring creativity in each other. They looked for colleagues who not only shared their deep love of the American landscape but were also willing to pack up their art supplies, leave their studios, and head outdoors to paint.

Over a two-year period these artists gathered in three different regions of the country to paint en plein air on location. The first destination was New York City and the Hudson River Valley, where the artists drew inspiration from vistas painted by the famed Hudson River School painters of nineteenth-century America. Artists also gathered at Big Sur to paint one of the most spectacular stretches of California's coastline. Finally, a group headed to America's heartland where artists painted in the St. Louis area. Many of the works on display in the exhibition come from these group painting expeditions. Adding to the diversity of the display, the artists have also chosen a painting representing their own region of the country. (right: Gil Dellinger, Working Morning)

Most of the artists worked in oils, but there are also beautiful examples of watercolors, pastels, and acrylic works in the show. The style of these landscape paintings is traditional. Some pieces are very detailed and realistic, drawing inspiration from the Hudson River school painters. Others reveal looser brush work closer in style to the American and California Impressionist artists of the early twentieth century. All offer compelling interpretations of contemporary America.

The idea for this exhibition evolved from an earlier show at The Haggin Museum in 2001, Contemporary Artists Paint Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra, also organized by Dellinger and Cosby. It opened shortly after the terrible events of 9/11, inspiring the artists to propose a follow-up exhibition for 2004 that would depict the American landscape from sea to shining sea. In this way, these artists hoped to contribute to the healing process. (right: Joseph McGurl, Coast Near Monterey)

After opening at The Haggin Museum, From Sea to Shining Sea: A Reflection of America will travel for three years to twelve locations around the country. The high caliber of the exhibition is reflected in its selection by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, who is organizing this tour that already includes museums and galleries in Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Most of the works are for sale, but will not be available for delivery until the end of the tour.

The Haggin Museum has published a beautifully-designed, hard-cover catalogue that provides an enduring remembrance of this remarkable exhibition. On sale in the Museum Store, it features full-color reproductions of all the works in the show and biographies of each artist. In addition, brief essays by John Cosby and Gil Dellinger provide their perspectives on the exhibition. A longer essay by art historian Jean Stern places the works featured in this show in the wider context of the history of American art. (right: front cover of From Sea to Shining Sea: A Reflection of America)




The artists in From Sea to Shining Sea include: Peter Adams (Pasadena, California); Clyde Aspevig (Clyde Park, Montana); Kenn Backhaus (Prescott, Arizona); Christopher Blossom (Stratford, Connecticut); Jason Bouldin (Oxford, Mississippi); John Budicin (San Bernardino, California); Scott Burdick (King, North Carolina); Marcia Burtt (Santa Barbara, California); Nancy Bush (Fredericksburg, Texas); John Cosby (Laguna Beach, California); William R. Davis (Harwich, Massachusetts); Gil Dellinger (Stockton, California); Donald Demers (Kittery, Maine); M. Stephen Doherty (New York, New York); Michael Godfrey (Glenn Dale, Maryland); Carol Guzman (Clyde Park, Montana); Albert Handell (Santa Fe, New Mexico); Glenna Hartmann (Santa Barbara, California); William Hook (Carmel, California); Gregory Hull (Sedona, Arizona); Wilson Hurley (Albuquerque, New Mexico); William Scott Jennings (Sedona, Arizona); Lucinda Kasser (Stockton, California); Peggi Kroll-Roberts (Angels Camp, California); T. Allen Lawson (Rockport, Maine); Jean LeGassick (Silver City, Nevada); Denise Lisiecki (Kalamazoo, Michigan); Kevin Macpherson (Taos, New Mexico); Joseph McGurl (Cataumet, Massachusetts); Eric Michaels (Trinidad, Colorado); Clark Mitchell (Cotati, California); Ned Mueller (Renton, Washington); Ralph Oberg (Montrose, Colorado); Billyo O'Donnell (Eureka, Missouri); Joseph Paquet (St. Paul, Minnesota; Ron Rencher (Canyon Lake, Texas); Ray Roberts (Angels Camp, California); Peggy Root (Jonesborough, Tennessee); Phil Sandusky (New Orleans, Louisiana); Matt Smith (Scottsdale, Arizona); George Strickland (Parker, Colorado); Karen Vernon (Coconut Grove, Florida); Charles Waldman (Sonora, California); Curt Walters (Sedona, Arizona); Skip Whitcomb (Ft. Collins, Colorado); Mary Whyte (John's Island, South Carolina); and Marika Wolfe (Stockton, California).



The contemporary works in this special exhibition will complement The Haggin Museum's own art collection. Breathtaking panoramas of Yosemite Valley, including one that was on loan to the White House, are among twelve paintings on display by renowned artist Albert Bierstadt. Other monumental landscape views by American artists including George Inness, William Keith, Thomas Moran, and Julian Rix will also quickly catch visitors' attention. (right: The Haggin Museum, photo courtesy of Haggin Museum)

The Haggin Museum, is located in the middle of one of Stockton's beautiful parks, Victory Park , at 1201 North Pershing Avenue, Stockton, CA 95203-1699. Please see the museum's website for hours and admission fees.

Editor's note: RLM readers may also enjoy the following:

Geographical perspective:

The Hudson River School is considered the earliest school of American art. One of America's earliest art centers was the Lyme art colony; also see The Lyme Art Colony: An American Giverny. and another article on the Lyme Art Colony. Other early Eastern art colonies and centers were the: Cape Cod School of Art (Provincetown), Cornish artists' colony, Cos Cob art colony, Dublin art colony, New Hope school of artists, North Shore community of artists, Ogunquit art colony, Roycroft Colony in East Aurora, NY, Shinnecock Hills Summer School of Art and the Woodstock art colony. Also see A Walk in the Woods: The Art of John Elwood Bundy, an essay by William H. Gerdts covering the Richmond School, the History of White Mountain Art and 19th Century Artists of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Crossing into the twentieth century, read about Artists and Art Colonies of Ridgefield, New Jersey,

For Pennsylvania artists see A Matter of Style: Artistic Influences and Directions in 20th-Century Pennsylvania Painting, an essay by Michael A. Tomor; Art and Industry in Philadelphia: Origins of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, an article by Nina de Angeli Walls; Introduction to "Along the Juniata: Thomas Cole and the Dissemination of American Landscape Imagery", an essay by Nancy Siegel, and Pennsylvania Painters and the Roots of Realism, an essay by Judith Hansen O'Toole.

For more on Eastern artists and art see The Departure, by Martin Krause (the Hoosier artists); The New York Armory Show of 1913; "Art, Cheap and Good": The Art Union in England and the United States, 1840­60, an essay by Joy Sperling, and Maryland artists: 1890-1970,

Moving westward, learn about historic Illinois artists via the Illinois Historical Art Project; for Chicago art history The Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts. For Wisconsin art history see Art Teachers, Art Schools and Art Museums in Early Wisconsin, essay segment by Peter C. Merrill; Society of Milwaukee Artists, essay segment by Gay Donahue; Wisconsin's New Art Deal, essay segment by Mary Michie; Preface to "Foundations of Art in Wisconsin", Prominence in 19th Century Regional Art, Preface / A Century of Artistic Endeavor and Wisconsin Art from Euro-American Settlement to 1950, essays and essay segments by Thomas D. Lidtke.

For Southern art history, see A Century of Progress: 20th Century Painting in Tennessee, an essay by Celia Walker, and Lost Colony: The Artists of St. Augustine, 1930-1950, an essay by Robert W. Torchia.

For Southwest art history and Western art, enjoy articles and essays inluding American Impressionism Goes West, an essay by Charles C. Eldredge; Remington: The Color of Night; Women Artist Pioneers of New Mexico, an article by Dottie Indyke; A Century of Western Art; Southwestern Colonial Art, an essay by Robert William Brown; The Pictoral Record of the Old West: the Beginning of the Taos School of Art, an essay by Robert Taft; Painters in Taos, New Mexico Prior to 1940; Taos Society of Artists, an article by Sarah Beserra; "New Deal" Art in New Mexico, an article by Kathryn Flynn; How the Santa Fe Art Colony Began, an article by Suzanne Deats; CCA: Cowboy Artists of America; Grand Canyon Painters and Their Earliest Patron, The Santa Fe Railroad; Introduction from "Celebrating America: Masterworks from Texas Collections", an essay by Jane Myers and Barbara McCandless and Art of the American West, an essay by Peter MacMIllan Booth.

For Alaska and Hawaii see Selected Painters and Sculptors of Alaska and Artists of Hawaii and South Seas Subjects.

For California overall see Top California Artists; In and Out of California: Travels of American Impressionists, an essay by Deborah Epstein Solon; In and Out of California: The Participatory Nature of Early California Art, an essay by Will South; California Watercolor Painters in Context, an essay by Donelson Hoopes; Regionalism: The California View, an essay by Susan M. Anderson and The Metamorphosis of California Landscape Art, an essay by Rexford E. Brandt.

For Nothern California see The 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition of San Francisco; An Art-Lover's Guide to the Exposition, by Sheldon Cheney (reprint of an entire book covering the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition of 1915); The Art of the Exposition, by Eugen Neuhaus (reprint of an entire book covering the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition of 1915); The Sculpture And Mural Decorations Of The Exposition, by Stella George Stern Perry (reprint of an entire book covering the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition of 1915); Harvey L. Jones' essay Twilight and Reverie: California Tonalist Painting 1890-1930; The Northern Scene and Towards Impressionism in Northern California, essays by Raymond L. Wilson; The Society of Six, an essay by Terry St. John; The San Francisco Art Association, The Santa Cruz Art League and The Carmel Art Association, essays by Betty Hoag McGlynn.

For Southern California read What Made Laguna Beach Special, an essay by Deborah Epstein Solon; the California Art Club; The Land of Sunshine, an essay by William H. Gerdts; Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and the Eucalyptus School in Southern California, by Nancy Dustin Wall Moure; The Development of Southern California Impressionism, Masters of Light, Impressionist Style in Perspective and Landscape Painting in California, essays by Jean Stern; The California Water Color Society: Genesis of an American Style and The Arts in Santa Barbara essays by Janet Blake Dominik; Ranchos: The Oak Group Paints the Santa Barbara Countryside, an essay by Ellen Easton; Continuity and Change: Southern California's Evolving Landscape, an essay by Sarah Vure; Dream and Perspective: American Scene Painting in Southern California, an essay by Susan M. Anderson; San Diego Beginnings, an essay by Martin E. Petersen; The Development of an Art Community in the Los Angeles Area, an essay by Ruth Westphal, and Hard-Boiled Wonderland, an essay by Julie Joyce.

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