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.

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)
"Cypress Trees, Carmel"
Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches

A native of Sweden, Carl Oscar Borg cut his teeth as an apprentice to the English artist George Johansen. Working as a seaman, Borg jumped ship in San Francisco in 1901. Borg initially studied under Southern California luminary, William Wendt, and showing great promise, was soon sponsored by Phoebe Hearst to study in Paris and Rome. The artist is remembered for his naturalistic paintings of Monterey and the American Southwest. Here, Borg presents his version of the iconic Monterey cypress tree, a popular subject matter among the region’s artists.

Carl Oscar Borg (1879 - 1947)
"Santa Barbara"

A contemporary of Borg, Roi Clarkson Colman studied in Paris at the Academies Julian and Grand Chaumiere, before settling in Southern California around 1913. While maintaining a professorship at the Santa Ana Academy, Colman traveled up and down the California coast, painting scenes of Laguna Beach, Carmel, and San Diego.

Roi Clarkson Colman (1884 - 1945)
"Carmel Coast, 1923"
Oil on canvas, 28 x 36  inches

Although William Otte was a successful stockbroker in NYC, in his leisure he studied at the New York School of Art, Independent School of Art, and with Robert Henri. In 1913 he retired from the stock market and moved to California to devote his life to art. An Impressionist, he used small, feathery brush strokes and a colorful palette to create paintings of the California landscape, primarily of Santa Barbara and the Monterey Peninsula.

Rinaldo Cuneo studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute with Arthur Mathewsbefore attending the Academie Colarossi in Paris from 1911-1913. Upon his return to California, Cuneo was involved in every major art exhibition in the San Francisco area from 1916-1939. Called “the Painter of San Francisco,” at the inaugural exhibition of the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1935, Cuneo had the most paintings displayed by any early California artist. In that same exhibition, his painting, "California Hills" won the Museum’s Purchase Prize award. A pure impressionist early in his career, Cuneo’s style constantly evolved throughout his life as he was always seeking out and assimilating the various innovations of representation.

Rinaldo Cuneo (1871- 1939)
"Lover's Point, Pacific Grove"
Oil on paper, 16 x 21  inches

Franz Bischoff was born in Austria, where he studied at a crafts school, specializing in painting and porcelain. Emigrating to the United States in 1885, Bischoff worked in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, ultimately setting up Bischoff Schools of Ceramic Art in New York and Dearborn, Michigan. Arriving in Pasadena in 1908, Bischoff established a home and studio along the Arroyo. Once in California, Bischoff turned his attentions to landscape painting. His best known subjects are of the Arroyo near his home, still lifes, the Sierras, and the Monterey Peninsula.

Franz Bischoff (1864 - 1929)
"Pebble Beach, California"
Oil on board 13 x 19  inches

Born in Pittsburgh, PA on Feb. 14, 1863, William Henry Price had a few art lessons from Emil Forester while working for Anaconda Copper Company in Butte, MT. He had visited Laguna Beach, CA in 1910 and, after retiring from the business world in 1920, settled there and devoted the rest of his life to art. He studied briefly with Edgar Payne but was primarily a self-taught painter of landscapes and marines.

William Henry Price (1864 - 1940)
"17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach"
Oil on canvas 14 x 18  inches

The artistic community in the Monterey-Carmel area remains vibrant, active, and progressive today, while simultaneously paying homage to the area's rich cultural history.  Contemporary plein-air painters such as award-winning artist Dennis Doheny continue to be inspired by the scenic beauty of the region.  His recent compositions include works that capture the grandeur of the Point Lobos State Reserve, and the quiet beauty of the Carmel Monastery at Dawn. 

Dennis Doheny (b. 1956)
"Awaiting Dawn, Carmel Monastery"
Oil on canvas 16 x 20  inches

Another artist who has been inspired by early California Impressionism is Pebble Beach artist Brian Blood.  He is a well-known local plein-air painter whose works show a fascination with the changing light effects explored by artists of the Monterey Peninsula area for well over a century. 

Contemporary Carmel artist Joaquin Turner also embraces the artistic history of the Monterey Peninsula.  His remarkable landscapes are influenced by late 19th/early 20th century Northern California painters, including tonalists Charles Rollo Peters, Gottardo Piazzoni, and Percy Gray.  

For over one hundred years, paintings of the Monterey Peninsula's rocky shoreline, ambling cypress, and tumultuous seas have captured the hearts and minds of connoisseurs the world over. From Hansen to Doheny, Gray to Turner, Yuan to Blood and beyond, the region continues to inspire. Of course, as with those of the early 20th century, the painters of today will eventually pass the torch to a new generation of artists, thus cementing their own legacies in the annals of art history. Until then, we look to these modern day visionaries to interpret nature's hidden truths, to reveal through their art the real essence of the land and sea, and carry on the rich traditions started so long ago. 

For additional information about available paintings, please contact William A. Karges Fine Art, Santa Monica, at wganz@kargesfineart.com.