Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Superbly Independent: Early California Paintings by Annie Harmon, Mary DeNeale Morgan and Marion Kavanagh Wachtel
July 25 - Sept. 19, 2010
Nearly 100 plein air landscape paintings by three pioneer women artists; illustrated color catalog, with checklist and essays by Jean Stern, Executive Director of The Irvine Museum, Erika Esau, opening day speaker, and Julie Armistead, guest curator of the exhibition.
Too often, tenacious and talented early women turn-of-the-century women artists received less attention from the art world than their male counterparts; this exhibition intends to balance the scales of artistic scholarship by focusing on the abilities of three superb painters.
While researching Harmon and her relationship with her mentor and teacher, William Keith, it became clear to there were also interesting parallels and connections with her contemporaries Mary DeNeale Morgan and Marion Kavanagh Wachtel. Together, they allow us to look at the breadth of early California landscape—from the densely wooded forests of the north, to the Bay Area and the spectacularly scenic central coast, to the bright, strong colors and tones of the desert and the Southland.
All three artists painted en plein air. One can imagine them sitting before some stunning vista, paint brush in hand, ready to capture the scene. A passage in Brother Cornelius’s book Keith: Old Master of California, comes to mind, when one of Keith’s students asked him, “‘Which is your favorite picture?’ ‘Here it is’ and he pointed to a blank canvas. ‘But there’s nothing there!’ ‘Infinite possibilities,’ insisted Keith.” With this exhibition, we are fortunate to see the fruit of many of those infinite possibilities.
Lecture by Southern California art historian Erika Esau, author of Images of the Pacific Rim: Australia and California, 1850-1935.
When: Sunday, July 25, 2:00 pm
Where: Claeys Lounge, Soda Activity Center
Reception following, Art Patio and Gallery
Mary DeNeale Morgan
Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel
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