Welcome to the William A. Karges Fine Art Blog

Welcome to the William A. Karges Fine Art Blog, where you'll be able to find information about Early California Paintings, including Museum Exhibitions, Current News, Events, and our gallery's new acquisitions of original paintings created between 1870 and 1940 by a wide variety of Early California Artists. We'll feature biographies, photographs, links to websites of interest to collectors, video tours, and detailed histories of some of California's most influential and intriguing artists.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Dennis Doheny - California's Premier Realist Landscape Painter

Enjoy this in-depth interview with Dennis Doheny!

A third-generation Californian, Dennis Doheny was raised in the Los Angeles area and currently resides in Santa Barbara. Instantly developing an innate love of art, he spent much of his childhood drawing and painting. Self-taught, Doheny ultimately began exhibiting his early works at the Petersen Gallery in Beverly Hills. From 1986 until 1996, Doheny focused on commercial art, until his passion for fine art painting prevailed.

Over the past two decades, Doheny has cultivated a strong local and national following, enticing collectors who are drawn to his heroic renderings of the western landscape.

"Mother's Day"
Oil on linen, 36 x 40

Inspired by legendary California and Hudson River School artists, he has fused and reinterpreted the genres, combining rich color and finely-crafted detail to create a distinctive vision of the American West. 

"West End of Edwards"
Oil on linen, 30 x 30

Doheny’s vivid landscapes capture California at its most beautiful, with its commanding ocean cliffs, distant hazy mountains, and towering lush trees.

"South Shore"
Oil on linen, 24 x 30

"Early Light"
Oil on linen, 20 x 24

Doheny recently completed this unique night scene, a view of Santa Monica, titled "City Lights".

"City Lights (Santa Monica)"
Oil on linen, 30 x 36

Doheny is the recipient of numerous awards.  In April 2016, he received "The Irvine Museum Prize" at the California Art Club's 105th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition.  In addition, the painting was purchased by the California Art Club, and it will hang permanently at the California Club in Los Angeles.  Previously, he was awarded the Irvine Museum Gold Medal at the California Art Club's 2013 Exhibition.  At the same show, he also received the American Art Collector Award of Excellence.  

In 2009 Doheny was honored to be chosen for the Edgar Payne Award for best landscape at the California Art Club's 2009 Gold Medal Juried Exhibition.  Dennis was also proud to be featured in the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition.  In both 2006 and 2008 at the Prix de West, he received the Frederic Remington Award given in recognition of "exceptional artistic merit".  Also in 2006, he was honored with the Inaugural Purchase Prize at the Eiteljorg Museum's "Quest for the West" Exhibition and is proud to be a part of their permanent collection.  In 2003, he was recognized by the Autry National Center and awarded the Masters of the American West Award.  His painting was acquired by the Autry for its permanent collection as well.  He received the Granville Redmond Memorial Purchase Prize in 2000 for his painting "New Dawn" at the California Art Club's Spring Salon and upon his return to fine art, he received First Place in the Carmel Plein Air Competition in 1998.

An integral member of Karges Fine Art, Doheny is exclusively represented at both California galleries, in Santa Monica and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Karges Fine Art is proud to be entrusted with the works of one of this generation’s greatest artists, connecting this passionate visionary with discerning fine art collectors.  For additional information, or to inquire about currently available paintings, contact William A. Karges Fine Art by calling (800) 884-4022 or emailing gallery@kargesfineart.com

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Granville Redmond: Color and Silence

Granville Redmond: Color and Silence by Rob Pierce

On March 9th, 1871, Charles and Elizabeth Redmond gave birth to healthy baby boy, whom they named Grenville Richard Seymour Redmond. Sadly – though perhaps from an art historical perspective, felicitously – young Grenville contracted scarlet fever at the age of two, rendering him completely and irreparably deaf. As a result, Redmond never developed the ability to speak.

In 1874, the Redmond family moved to the Bay Area, eventually enrolling their son in the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, one of the nation's most renowned institutions for the hearing impaired. Redmond excelled in his classes, both academically and socially, but it was in the arts that he truly shone.

Under the instruction of artist Theophilus D'Estrella, he developed a keen eye for light and color, and a particular love of the outdoors and the en plein air method, which was coming into fashion among the burgeoning California art scene. It's difficult to say to what degree Redmond's hearing impairment influenced his art, but whatever the cause, he found himself immediately attracted to the subtle gradations and quiet isolation of Tonalism, a love affair that would follow him all of his life.

Granville Redmond
"Flowering Hillside"
At the encouragement of his instructors from the California School, Redmond enrolled at the San Francisco School of Design at the age of 16. It was here that he would meet perhaps the most significant instructor of his early artistic career, Director of the School of Design, Arthur Mathews. Mathews is recognized by many art historians as the single most important figure in Early California painting, as he is responsible for the first artistic movement that can accurately be described as Californian: The eventually-termed California Decorative Style. Still, had it not been for this invention, his contribution to the arts would have been indisputable simply for his tutelage of many renowned artists including Redmond.

Even before graduating from the Academy of Design, Redmond began to receive critical acclaim, winning the W. E. Brown Medal of Excellence and a scholarship to continue his studies in Paris. In 1893, he crossed the Pacific and enrolled at the Académie Julian, one of France's most prestigious art schools. Here, under the professorship of such luminaries as Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul Laurenz, Redmond meticulously honed his craft.

By the early 1890s, Redmond was focusing almost exclusively on exterior landscape compositions in the Tonalist style, and in 1895 his canvas, Matin d'Hiver, was accepted into the exclusive Paris Art Salon. In 1898, Redmond returned to California and settled in Los Angeles. After years of study, he was finally ready to embark on his journey as a professional artist. Perhaps in response to his new state in life, Grenville Richard Seymour Redmond decided that a nom de pinceau was in order – and thus he dropped the foremost e in favor of an a, did away with his middle names altogether, and became simply Granville Redmond.

Granville Redmond's early professional career in Southern California is characterized by subtle Tonalist compositions, often landscapes and seascapes of Laguna Beach, Catalina Island, and San Pedro. These early works exhibit quiet, almost solemn undertones. Additionally, Redmond completed a number of nocturnes during this time, tenebrous pastorals reminiscent of the work coming from his artistic motherland, San Francisco.

When Redmond met Charlie Chaplain in Los Angeles, the two quickly became fast friends, trading techniques in pantomime and other non-verbal cues – one educated through a lifetime of silent observation, the other through a career on the silver screen. They got along so handsomely that not only did Chaplain invite Redmond to star in three of his feature films, but the actor also independently financed a studio for the artist on his film lot.

In 1899, Granville married Carrie Ann Jean, herself a graduate from the Illinois School for the Deaf. Over the next several years, they would have three children together. By that time, Redmond was already garnering favorable criticism as a talented and thoughtful colorist in the LA art scene.

But the artist was soon to explore a whole new method of composition, and in 1908 he packed up his family and moved north to Monterey, where his typically moody Tonalist landscapes began to change, becoming more expansive, idyllic, and colorful.

Two years later, the Redmond family moved again, this time to San Mateo, where Granville firmly rooted himself in the San Francisco art establishment. He took the critical world by storm with his sweeping visions of California landscapes, hillsides on fire with golden poppies and violet lupine. The demand for his work exploded.

For the next 25 years, Redmond travelled the California coast – one of the few Early Californian artists to do so – capturing its quintessential light and color. His work matured, becoming more Impressionistic, even Pointillist, as he grew to become one of the West Coast's foremost California Impressionists. He drew comparisons to France's greatest masters – Monet, Matisse, Pisarro – and though collectors had an insatiable appetite for his vivid wildflower canvases, the artist never gave up his passion for his quiet, Tonalist compositions. For the rest of his life, he would continue to paint his beloved, brooding nocturnes; subtle, grey pastorals; tenebrous, solitary coastals – even as the demand for his Impressionistic landscapes continued to skyrocket.

Granville Redmond
"Moonlit Pond"

Today, Granville Redmond is remembered as a master of both California Impressionism and California Tonalism. His work continues to be bought and sold around the world, publicly and privately, and every retrospective of seminal Californian art bears his name. 

Granville Redmond

His work is held in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco's de Young Museum, the Stanford University Museum, the California School of the Deaf – to name but a few.

Granville Redmond died on May 24, 1935 in Los Angeles. He was 63 years old.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Explore Zama Vanessa Helder's "Hallett House" with Whitney Ganz

Enjoy this week's informative video, presented by William A. Karges Fine Art Los Angeles Gallery Director, Whitney Ganz, as he explores "Hallett House" by American Modernist artist Zama Vanessa Helder (1904 - 1968).

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Explore "California Winter" by Guy Rose with Gallery Director, Whitney Ganz

Enjoy our video, presented by William A. Karges Fine Art Los Angeles Gallery Director, Whitney Ganz, as he discusses "California Winter" by prominent Early California Impressionist artist Guy Rose.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Early California Painters of the Monterey Peninsula by Rob Pierce

By Rob Pierce

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the climactic landscape of the Monterey Peninsula has attracted artists from around the world, eager to try their hand at capturing the spirit of the dramatic shoreline. Over the ensuing century, hundreds of artists produced thousands of works, each a unique interpretation of the region’s natural beauty.

After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the region was inundated with musicians, writers, painters and other artists who established an artist colony after the bay city was destroyed. The new residents were offered home lots – ten dollars down, little or no interest, and whatever they could pay on a monthly basis. Among the visual artists to participate in the burgeoning arts community were Armin Hansen, Mary DeNeale Morgan, Carl Oscar Borg, Roi Clarkson Colman, William Louis Otte, Rinaldo Cuneo, William Henry Price.

San Francisco native Armin Hansen is generally considered the most significant artist to work in the Monterey Peninsula during the early-and mid-20th century. Stormy Sea (pictured below) depicts a ship struggling through stormy seas. This painting is an excellent example of Hansen’s powerful oceanographic scenes, for which he is best known.

Armin Hansen (1886 - 1957)
"Stormy Sea"

Carmel artist Mary DeNeale Morgan was born in San Francisco in 1868, where she became a favorite pupil of William Keith. Morgan attended summer classes in Carmel that were led by William Merritt Chase and later became the Director of the Carmel School of Art from 1917-1925. Equally facile in watercolor, gouache and oil painting, Morgan’s works often feature the windblown trees and rocky coastline of the Monterey Peninsula.

Mary DeNeale Morgan (1868 - 1948)
"Lake Merritt, Oakland"

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

“Monterey Places” Exhibit at the Monterey Museum of Art

An outstanding group of paintings is currently on display through August 29th, 2016 at the Monterey Museum of Art, Pacific Street. “Monterey Places” presents works from the permanent collection that focus on the beauty and history of Monterey County. The exhibit features early California paintings by influential artists including M. Evelyn McCormick, Charles Rollo Peters, and Armin Hansen, as well as contemporary works by Johnny Apodaca and Andrea Johnson.

Click here to learn more about the exhibit and view some of the works online.

The exhibit also includes a web-based interactive virtual gallery where visitors can “explore and engage with the paintings, and learn more about the specific locations, local histories, and the artists who created them”.

Click here to see the interactive gallery now and discover the paintings and places featured in this fascinating exhibit. 

This is a great opportunity to get personally involved with the artworks on display and to discover, learn, and interact! Visitors to the various current exhibitions are encouraged to write down and share their reactions and thoughts about works on display. There are short films to watch, large-screen slide show presentations, tours given by their enthusiastic, energetic, and well-educated docents, lectures, and even stations set up where you can create your own artworks. It's nice to be reminded that visiting a museum is supposed to be fun, entertaining, inspiring, educational, and exciting! Charlotte Eyerman, hired as the Director in 2013, has been doing a spectacular job of moving the museum boldly forward into the 21st century, and the staff has been extremely successful at engaging, entertaining, and educating visitors using a combination of technology, creative ideas, and social media.

The Monterey Museum of art is located at 559 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA (831) 372-5477. For additional information and hours, visit their website www.montereyart.org

Friday, March 25, 2016


By William A. Karges Fine Art Editorial Staff

What is it that has always attracted people to Early California painting? Works created during the period between 1870 and 1940 by artists such as Granville Redmond, Guy Rose, and William Ritschel continue to remain popular among people of all ages. With the current frenzy surrounding modern and contemporary art, why are collectors, museums and gallery visitors still so fascinated by this more traditional style of painting?

1) Traditional art is self-sustaining

Granville Redmond (1871 - 1935)
"California Landscape"

Certainly there is ample room for all types, mediums, subjects, and talents in the art world. The nature of art is to encourage experimentation, and to open viewer's minds to new ways of thinking and experiencing the world. Art is a medium that, at its best, evokes an emotion, but it has many purposes, including breeding thoughts and ideas, and connecting us to each other through the simple fact that the works were created for humans by other humans.

However, as corporate marketing agencies spend huge sums to convince visitors of flashy art fairs, surfeit with celebrities, that it's perfectly normal for a canvas painted blue with a white line to sell for $43.8 million dollars, one begins to suspect that the contemporary art world is more about a “scene” than about the art itself.

Yet the private market for historic California art remains strong without all the fanfare and high-priced marketing of its modern, postmodern, and abstract brethren. The reason is that collectors of these prior genres tend to be more self-educating – that is, historic collectors appreciate the visual aesthetic qualities of the work, but also foster connoisseurship by seeking the historical significance of the objects themselves. The market is driven less by external trends and more by a conscious intellectual endeavor to understand the contextual whole.

2) It preserves our history

For over one hundred years, the California Art Club has existed for the exclusive purpose of fostering and preserving the rich tradition of fine art in California. One of the oldest, largest, and most active art organizations in the country, it continues to attract an increasing number of new members, and any study of the history of the art of the region will contain by necessity the history of the CAC and its members, such as William Wendt (1865–1946), Edgar Payne (1883–1947), Franz Bischoff (1864–1929)

Carl Oscar Borg (1879 - 1947)
"Montecito Coast"
Oil on canvas, 30 x 36 inches

Other groups, such as the Traditional Fine Arts Organization, continue to grow in popularity and membership. The TFAO, a non-profit group “dedicated to furthering education in American Representational art through advocacy, publication, and research,” similarly works to preserve the history of the arts.

The CrockerArt Museum in Sacramento, established in 1885 and home to a vast and important collection of early California paintings, recently tripled its size and has become one of the leading art museums in California, and the recently opened Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University, displaying a significant collection of 20th century representational art, is drawing large, enthusiastic crowds.

The history of art in California is quite literally the history of the people, places, and events that have shaped the world we live in. Without organizations and patrons dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of this artistic legacy, our own history would be lost to the fog of time.

Orrin White (1883 - 1969)
"Southern California Landscape"
Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 inches

3) Historical art preserves our environment

In order to understand the reasons for this enduring love of paintings created in the “Golden State”, a good place to look is the California landscape itself.

California landscape paintings, plein air works in particular, call attention to the exceptional and unparalleled beauty of the hills, mountains, deserts, and farmlands of California which, in turn, remind us of the fragile nature of our unique habitat. As with John Muir, we are inspired to become better custodians of these precious lands, and to protect and nurture the environment. 

Early paintings of Yosemite, by artists such as Gilbert Munger and Thomas Hill, served to draw attention to that area, and helped to spark a new era of conservation and environmental protection for its unique and exceptional beauty. Artists and writers were extremely important in influencing Nineteenth Century trends in American conservation.

One of the great museums in the state is the Irvine Museum, which is dedicated to the preservation and display of California art of the Impressionist Period (1890-1930). In her welcoming statement for the Irvine Museum, the institution's founder, real estate heiress Joan Irvine Smith, notes that “Much of what originally made California a 'Golden Land' was directly linked to the environment, especially the land and water that nurtured and sustained a rare quality of life. Over a hundred years ago, the splendor of nature fascinated artists and compelled them to paint beautiful paintings. As we view these rare and remarkable paintings, we are returned, all too briefly, to a time long ago when the land and its bounty were open and almost limitless.”

Maurice Braun (1877 - 1941)
"Lake Cuyamaca"
Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 inches

4) The market is strong

In spite of – and at least partially because of – a recent surge in turnover of contemporary art, current auction records for important paintings from the Early California period are remarkably strong. Today's overheated market for contemporary work with little or no proven track record is providing astute collectors with a perfect opportunity to acquire certain early California paintings on the private market at somewhat more modest prices than those seen a decade or two ago, just as Joan Irvine was able to acquire historic paintings for the museum by circumventing the contemporary art bubble of her own time.

Simultaneously, important major works by the most popular artists in the genre are commanding stronger prices than ever, proving again that the market for the most desirable first-rate works still remains bullish. A painting by William Wendt (1865-1946) “The Old Coast Road”, circa 1916, was sold in April 2015 for $1,565,000, setting a new public record for the artist. The Director of Fine Arts at Bonhams in Los Angeles, Scot Levitt, commented of the sale, "This was the most exciting sale that I have had the distinction to auction in my 30 years working with the company".  Shrewd collectors know that significant paintings from this genre continue to enjoy an enduring position in the history of art, and can comfortably count on the fact that their importance and relevance over time has been repeatedly proven.
While all of this may be somewhat of a simplification, it’s clear that the appeal of historical California art is multi-faceted and often rooted in deeply-felt emotions and fundamental human nature. The pieces from this halcyon era inspire us to care more about, and protect, our fragile environment. 

They can make us feel peaceful, centered and quiet, and can function as a counterpoint to the fast pace of today's world that's crowded with glowing screens, overflowing email inboxes, and ringing cell phones. 

Francis McComas (1875 - 1938)
"Monterey Pines"
Watercolor, 32 x 37 inches

They can bring us joy, pleasure, and memories of happy times spent with people we've loved. And, most importantly, the paintings from this special era in California history make us feel connected to the past, connected to the land and the environment around us, connected to the artists through time, and to each other.