Abundance of Color: California Flowers in Art

March 22 - September 6, 2008


In keeping with the Irvine Museum's annual tradition, the Spring 2008 show highlights the outstanding display of wildflowers that once characterized Spring in California. Bygone vistas of gentle rolling hills, covered with brilliant wildflowers, adorn the walls of the museum along with magnificent gardens and charming still life's of beautiful bouquets.

Alice Brown Chittenden (1859-1944), was one of few California artists who are principally noted for their work in still life paintings. She was one of California's best- loved painters of flowers and portraits. She taught at the San Francisco School of Design from 1897 to 1940 and traveled extensively, visiting France and Italy to study and take part in exhibitions. Her work earned her numerous awards during her long career.

(above: Alice Brown Chittenden (1856 -1944), Chrysanthemums, 1889, Oil on canvas, 24 x 40 inches. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum)


Colin Campbell Cooper (1856-1937), was best known for his paintings of imposing architecture throughout the world, but after moving to Santa Barbara in 1921, he changed his style and turned to images of beautiful landscapes and lush California gardens, teeming with flowering shrubs, vines and trees.

(above: Colin Campbell Cooper (1856 - 1937), The Rustic Gate, Oil on canvas, 46 x 36 inches. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum)


John Gamble (1863-1957), was known for his glorious, color-filled scenes of California wildflowers, including poppies, lupines, wild lilacs, owl clover, and other blossoms. Gamble was living in San Francisco when the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed his house, studio and all his possessions. Leaving a San Francisco in ruins, he wished to settle in Los Angeles but when he arrived in beautiful Santa Barbara, he changed his mind and stayed there the rest of his long life.

(above: John Gamble (1863 - 1957), Red Buckwheat, Oil on canvas, 28 x 42 inches. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum)

Paul Grimm (1887-1974), came to California in 1919. His early works are magnificent views of the California landscape, highlighted by dramatic, cloud-filled skies. After settling in Palm Springs in 1932, he became the most renowned of the California's desert painters. Few places on earth can match the beauty of California's desert in Spring and Grimm was perhaps the artist best able to capture that beauty.

(above: Paul Grimm (1887 -1974), Desert Flowers, Oil on board, 12 x 16 inches. Courtesy of The Irvine Museum)


Editor's note:

The Irvine Museum provided source material to Resource Library for the above 2008 article. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact The Irvine Museum directly through either this phone number or web address: 949-476-2565; http://www.irvinemuseum.org

We wish to extend appreciation to Judy Thompson, Director of Media, The Irvine Museum for her help concerning permissions for reprinting the above texts.

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Following is an example of art created by an artist referenced in the above article. The artwork shown may not be specific to this article and likely not cited in it. The image was obtained via Wikimedia Commons, which believes the image to be freely available for presentation here.  Another source readers may find helpful is Google Images.


(above: Colin Campbell Cooper, Portrait Of the Artist's Wife, oil on canvas, 25 11/16  x 20 1/2 inches, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)

*Tag for expired US copyright of object image:

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