Welcome to the William A. Karges Fine Art Blog

Welcome to the William A. Karges Fine Art Blog, where you'll be able to learn about Early California and Southwest Paintings and discover information about Museum Exhibitions, Current News, Events, and our gallery's new acquisitions of original paintings created between 1870 and 1940 by a wide variety of 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. Visit our Gallery at Dolores & Sixth Ave in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California to view our collection of fine paintings in person.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Maynard Dixon - Southwest Artist - "Wild Horses of Nevada"

Maynard Dixon
Wild Horses of Nevada, 1927
Oil on canvas
44 x 50 inches
NOT FOR SALE


This important painting by Maynard Dixon has been prominently featured in numerous Museum exhibitions over the years, and was used as the cover image for the essential book, “Desert Dreams – The Art and Life of Maynard Dixon”. This comprehensive publication was written by Donald J. Hagerty and is the product of 15 years of intensive research. The painting is owned by the William A. Karges Family Trust and is not for sale at this time.


“Wild Horses of Nevada” was painted in 1927, during a period when he experimented with the concept of non-objective art and began exploring ideas and techniques related to the more progressive art movement now referred to as “Modernism”. He was aware of European art styles including Cubism, Futurism and Surrealism and his western landscapes began to incorporate broad, clean areas of color, sharp definition of edges, subtle gradations of hues, and the use of nearly monochromatic earth tones. This painting is an excellent example of his increasingly simplified, two-dimensional compositions that included cubist-realist influences.
It is likely that this painting was one of fifty-six works painted during a very productive time in Maynard Dixon's career, during a four month trip through Nevada that began in October 1927.
“Wild Horses of Nevada” has been included in a large and diverse group of noteworthy exhibitions in respected Museums across the United States. Below is a partial list of prominent institutions that have coordinated these shows with themes ranging from the American West to the Role of Horses in the History of the country.

As noted by Donald Hagerty in “Desert Dreams”; “In this large painting, Maynard applied cubist-realist principles to the desert's reality, a scaffold for the angular forms. The painting's unusual angle of vision, a bird's-eye perspective, shows a group of wild horses thundering across an alkaline flat. He composed the canvas with a thoughtful and bold use of pattern, expressive but modest distortion of form, a clean surface unencumbered with unnecessary detail, and a limited color scope massed in large areas”.
2010 The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky staged an exhibition on The Horse in American Art that coincided with the World Equestrian Games that year.

1993 Included in a traveling exhibition organized by Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of New Mexico in conjunction with the release of the Book “Desert Dreams – The Art and Life of Maynard Dixon”.




1994, “Desert Dreams: The Art of Maynard Dixon” at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Griffith Park. 2007 "Dixon's West", Pasadena Museum of California Art featured 106 of Maynard Dixon's paintings and drawings 2007 - 2008 Figge Art Museum "Go West!", Davenport, Iowa
2014 Crocker Museum of Art, Sacramento, California
The museum noted that “Horses have played a crucial role in building the United States. They have carried generals into battle, forged the trail of westward expansion, hustled for cowboys, and sprinted under jockeys for cheering fans. As such, horses became a meaningful part of American cultural identity symbolising heroism, wildness, hard work, and prosperity," The exhibition, entitled Hoofbeats and Heartbeats, was the first significant exhibition to critically examine the role of the horse in American art, history and culture.
2012 Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa "The American West as Myth: Art from the Figge and Private Collections"
2013 National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
2015 Annual “Maynard Dixon Country” art gathering at the famed artist’s historic home and studio in Mt. Carmel, Utah
2016 Nevada Museum of Art 2019-2020 "Maynard Dixon's American West" at the Scottsdale Museum of the West, described as "the most comprehensive retrospective ever showcasing Maynard Dixon’s life and artistic career."

2021 Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles, California
2020-2021 "Borein and Friends" at the Santa Barbara Historical Society

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Taos Society of Artists


The Taos Art Colony was a important and groundbreaking group of painters, many of whom had immigrated from or studied in Europe, who gathered and worked together near the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico in the late 19th century. The historically important Taos Society of Artists began there in 1915, several decades after founding members Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Geer Phillips settled in the area around 1898.

Joseph Henry Sharp was one of the six original members of the Taos Society and is considered to be its “Spiritual Father”. The original members of the group, known collectively as the “Taos Six” included Sharp, Eanger Irving Couse, Oscar Berninghaus, Bert Geer Phillips, W. Herbert Dunton, and Ernest Blumenschein. Later members included E. Martin Hennings and Walter Ufer. The group was inspired by the tradition, history, and beauty of the area and the Native American people who had lived there for nearly a thousand years. The artists created landscape paintings of the southwest deserts and mountains, and painted intimate portraits of the local inhabitants who had a long artistic tradition that included native crafts. Members of the Taos Society of artists often used rich, vibrant colors in their works, a break from the more monochromatic and traditional palettes seen in that era.

Sharp was born in Ohio in 1859 and became deaf as a child as a result of a near-drowning accident. At age 14 he moved to Cincinnati Ohio to live with his aunt and studied art at Mickmicken University, and later traveled to Europe to study at the Antwerp Academy.

He was one of the first American painters to visit the Taos area in 1893, and he quickly fell in love with the local people, their culture, and the landscape. He set up his artist’s studio there in 1909. He moved permanently to Taos in 1912 where he became internationally known for his portraits, landscapes, and genre scenes that prominently feature and celebrate Native Americans. J.H. Sharp was awarded the Gold Medal at the Panama-California Exposition in 1915, and was a member of the Salamagundi Club, the Society of Western Artists and the Artists' Guild of Chicago.

J.H Sharp is remembered for his portraits of Native Americans in the Southwest that feature close attention to detail and visually illustrate the spirit, character, and essence of the subject. He is also known for his Western landscape paintings. He passed away in 1953, in Pasadena, where he had established a studio in 1910.

President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned Sharp to paint 200 portraits of Native Americans, 11 of which are now in the Smithsonian Institute. Phoebe Hearst, William Randolph Hearst's mother, purchased 155 of Sharp's paintings which she eventually donated to U.C. Berkeley. The largest collection of the artist's works is held by the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa Oklahoma, and his paintings can also be found at the Amon Carter Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and in many other significant private collections worldwide.

Joseph Henry Sharp (1859 - 1953)
"Bawling Deer"
16 x 14 inches
SOLD


E.I. Couse
Eanger Irving Couse was born in Saginaw, Michigan, where he first started drawing the Chippewa Indians who lived nearby. Couse worked hard to pay for his art education, occasionally dropping out to earn money while attending the Art Institute of Chicago, and the National Academy of Design. In 1897 Couse left for Paris to study at the Academie Julian, where he met the American artist, Joseph Henry Sharp, who often spoke of Taos. Couse would become a frequent visitor and resident of Taos from 1902 on. In 1912 when the historically important Taos Society of Artists was formed, Couse was elected its first President. E. Irving Couse is best known for his intimate images of Native Americans in moments of spiritual ceremony and quiet repose.


Painting by E.I. Couse
E.I. Couse (1866 - 1936)
"Figure by a Stream"
12 x 16 inches
SOLD

Oscar Berninghaus
Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1874, Oscar Berninghaus was an important Southwest painter who was another founder of the Taos Society of artists in 1915. He and his group were instrumental in transforming the small Colony in Taos into an internationally known art center. Berninghaus’ works are widely admired for their ability to capture the spirit and character of Native Americans in traditional clothing as they genuinely appeared in their day to day, 20th century lives. He is also remembered for his outstanding Western Landscape paintings, especially desert scenes that often include horses, as well as portraits and figurative works portraying cowboys.

His early works were colorful and strongly influenced by Impressionism. He studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Art and, in 1898, was an illustrator for "McClure's" magazine. He was asked by the magazine to travel to New Mexico and Arizona and he became enchanted by the natural beauty of the area. He met fellow artist, Bert Geer Phillips and began to spend each Summer in Taos.

He had a long successful career and was commissioned by the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association to do a series of Western scenes. He also created landscape paintings of the area for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, and painted a mural in Phoenix, Arizona in 1931 for the Post Office building. Berninghaus died at the age of 77 on April 27, 1952, as a result of a recent heart attack and is considered to be one of the most important and influential early Southwest American artists.

Oscar Berninghaus (1874 - 1952)
"Riders on the Rio Grande"
SOLD


Bert Geer Phillips
Bert Geer Phillips was born in Hudson, New York, in 1868. In 1883 he began five years study at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design in New York, where he found work as an artist following his training. Opting for more schooling, Phillips left in 1894 for London and Paris, where he met Joseph Henry Sharp and Ernest Blumenschein. Sharp never missed an opportunity to share tales of Taos, New Mexico, and in 1898, Phillips and Blumenschein bought a wagon and headed west. When their wagon broke near Taos, the men ended their trek and rented studios in the town. Blumenschein and Phillips were founding members of Taos Art Colony. Phillips was a collector of Native American artifacts. Pieces from his collection would often appear in his vivid, semi-romantic paintings of the Southwest.


Painting by Bert Geer Phillips
Bert Geer Phillips (1868 - 1956)
"Conchita of Taos"
8 x 6 inches
SOLD

E. Martin Hennings
E. Martin Hennings was born in Pennsgrove, New Jersey, in 1886, and raised in Chicago. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and the Art Institute of Chicago before enrolling in the Munich Academy in 1914, where he first began to abandon his classical realist training. With the onset of WW I, Hennings returned to Chicago, where he was an instructor at the Art Institute. In 1917 he was sponsored to travel to the southwest. It was on this trip that Hennings first discovered Taos, New Mexico where he’d move permanently in 1924, banding together with friends from Munich, Walter Ufer and Victor Higgins. All three artists eventually joined the Taos Society of Artists. The remainder of Hennings’ life was devoted to rich painterly works that venerated his Native American subjects.

E. Martin Hennings (1886 - 1956)
"Out in the Sage"
25 x 30 inches
SOLD

Walter Ufer
Walter Ufer was born in Germany in 1876, and came to the U.S. the next year, settling in Kentucky. Having shown talent at an early age, he was apprenticed to a lithography firm, before leaving for Europe to study at the Royal Academy in Munich, where he met Joseph Henry Sharp and Ernest Blumenschein. Upon his return to the states, Ufer worked as an illustrator in Chicago before moving permanently to Taos in 1917, where he joined Taos Society of Artists.

Throughout the remainder of his career, Ufer concentrated on simple, non-dramatized paintings of the Native American. Though hampered at times by chronic alcoholism, his work won him great acclaim, and earned him membership in the National Academy of Design in New York.


Walter Ufer (1876 - 1936)
"Song of the Corn"
12 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches
SOLD


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Thomas Hill, Leland Curtis and Percy Gray - Early California Paintings of the Sierra Nevada

Over the past century and a half, early American artists have been captivated by the natural beauty, rugged terrain, and panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

In the mid 19th century, Hudson River School artists Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran painted luminous, romantic, landscapes of the West, bringing their epic sweeping views of “The Land of Promise” to the American public.

Early paintings of Yosemite, such as these by Thomas Hill, Leland Curtis, and Percy Gray, 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.

The stunning waterfalls, majestic granite cliffs and scenic vistas were favorite subjects of famous 19th century landscape artist Thomas Hill. One of the most acclaimed painters in the history of American art, Hill is especially well known for his western landscapes and panoramic views of our National Parks. 

Thomas Hill
(1829 - 1908)
Yosemite Valley
14 x 21 inches
SOLD

Thomas Hill(1829 - 1908)
Vernal Falls
30 x 20 inches
SOLD

Avid mountain climber and talented artist Leland Curtis was known for his striking plein air mountain and desert landscape paintings. Curtis was born in Denver in 1897 and lived in Seattle prior to moving to Los Angeles in 1914.  He was the official artist for multiple U.S. Antarctic Expeditions between 1939 and 1957, and moved in 1960 to Twenty Nine Palms, California.  He spent many summers in Moose, Wyoming where he had a studio in a rustic log cabin.  He was an avid hiker and mountain climber, and his works reflect the artist's obvious love and respect for nature and his deep appreciation of the magnificent panoramic views.

Leland Curtis
(1897 - 1989)
The Black Kaweah
5 x 6 inches
AVAILABLE NOW

Leland Curtis(1897 - 1989)
Aspen Trees
6 x 7 1/2 inches
AVAILABLE NOW
Percy Gray is considered one of California's most important historical artists, and more specifically, one of the state's premier watercolorists.  He was influential as a leader of the American art movement known as “Tonalism” that began in the 1880's and lasted well into the 1920's.  His views of the Sierra Nevada such as the delicate watercolor below, “Yosemite, 1921”, celebrate the artist's tonalist style, interpreting nature using muted colors, soft outlines, and subtle nuances and gradations of single hues in a narrow range. 


Percy Gray
(1869 - 1952)
Yosemite Valley, 1921
10 x 14 inches
AVAILABLE NOW
Works from the early California Impressionism genre and early Tonalist paintings, plein air landscapes in particular, serve to call attention to the exceptional and unparalleled beauty of the Sierra Nevada's mountain peaks, Alpine lakes, and granite cliffs. These, in turn, remind us of the fragile nature of our unique habitat. On this celebration of Earth Day 2020, we hope that these extraordinary historical paintings will serve to inspire us all to become better custodians of these precious lands, and to protect and nurture the environment.

Contact our staff at Karges Fine Art at (800) 833-9185 for more information about early California paintings that are currently available to add to your collection.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Alson Clark - Acclaimed Early California Impressionist Artist

Alson Clark is remembered as one of southern California’s finest early Impressionist artists.  He was a successful and influential plein-air painter and art teacher, and was deeply inspired by the French Impressionist movement.  He is known for his landscapes, figurative works, interior scenes, and cityscapes and is particularly remembered for his mastery of atmospheric and lighting effects.

Seascape
Alson Clark
"La Jolla"
SOLD

Born in Chicago to a wealthy family, Alson Clark initially enrolled at the Art Institute and then took a two year long journey around the world with his parents and was exposed to a wide variety of artwork, especially European paintings.

Alson Clark
"Chicago"
SOLD

He moved to New York in 1896 to study at the Art Students League with William Merritt Chase.  He then studied at Chase’s summer school of plein-aire painting at Shinnecock.  In 1898 Clark moved to Paris to study at a school directed by James McNeill Whistler, the Academie Carmen. His work was strongly influenced by Whistler throughout his long successful career.

Returning to the U.S. in 1901, he married, then lived with his wife in Paris from 1902 to 1914. During his time in France, he painted in 1910 in Giverny with his fellow artist, Guy Rose.  His style became more strongly influenced by Impressionism and his palette became lighter than it has been during his years with Whistler.

Alson Clark
"Paris"
SOLD

In 1913 Clark was drawn to visit and paint the construction of the Panama Canal. He eventually was invited to hold a solo exhibition at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, an honor bestowed on very few American artists at that time, and was awarded a bronze medal.

Alson Clark
"Panama Canal"
SOLD

He enlisted in the Navy during World War I and afterwards, in 1919, Alson Clark settled in Southern California where he, along with Guy Rose, taught at the Stickney School in Pasadena. He later became Director of the school.  He continued painting, and was particularly interested in scenes of the California Missions including San Gabriel and San Juan Capistrano.

Alson Clark
"San Juan Capistrano"
SOLD
Alson Clark
"The Golden Hour"
SOLD
He also traveled and painted desert and mountain landscapes in Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

Alson Clark
"San Gorgonio"
SOLD

Alson Clark’s paintings have been exhibited at numerous prestigious venues including the National Academy of Design, the Paris Salon, the Los Angeles County Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.  In 1921 his works were shown in a solo exhibition organized by Earl Stendahl, an important art dealer based in Southern California.

In 1925 he was commissioned by the Pasadena Playhouse to paint a large stage curtain, and he began a series of other commissioned works, including many well received murals.  He and his wife continued traveling when possible, in both the United States and Europe.



Alson Clark
"Seville"
SOLD
Clark’s health eventually declined, and he died in March 1949.

Note: Do you own an original painting by this artist that you would like to sell or consign? William A. Karges Fine Art, located in Carmel, California buys and sells paintings by this notable early California Impressionist.  Contact Patrick Kraft at (831) 601-2071 today for a free evaluation.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Jules Tavernier - Painter of Active Hawaiian Volcanoes

Jules Tavernier is best known and remembered for his Hawaiian scenes, especially landscape paintings that often prominently featured active volcanoes.  His works were often grand, panoramic views with deep contrasts between the darker sections of the paintings and the brightly colored volcanic lava flows. 

Tavernier was born in Paris, France in 1844, where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and by age 20 he had exhibited to acclaim at the prestigious Paris Salon.   He worked as an artist-war correspondent during the Franco-Prussian war, then moved to London for a brief period and made his living as an illustrator.

In 1873 Tavernier immigrated to the U.S., where he sketched his way across the country on horseback as an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly making sketches of the vast western landscape. In California by 1875, he served as Vice President of the San Francisco Art Association for a time, and helped to found the Bohemian Club.  He later established a studio in Monterey and invited other artists to join him there, forming a small art colony.  He married Lizzie Fulton in 1877 and began what was a tumultuous relationship, marred by his tendency towards running up debts and drinking to excess. He was very successful as an artist but was eventually forced to leave town, returning to San Francisco in 1879. He worked there in a studio with fellow artists, including Julian Rix.

Jules Tavernier
"Mount Rainier, Washington"
SOLD

Jules Tavernier
"Indians of the Southwest"
SOLD

Jules Tavernier
"Indians of California"
SOLD

In 1884 Jules Tavernier fled his debts and embarked for Hawaii to specialize in the moody nocturnes of active volcanoes that brought him fame. His works there were so popular, he eventually became the official painter to King Kalakaua.  Learn more about the artist here: Isaacs Art Center - Hawai'i Prepartory Academy 

His descent into debt unfortunately continued and, as a result of local laws that did not allow those who could not pay their bills to leave the island, he remained there, drinking himself to death at age 45 in Honolulu 1889.

His paintings can be found in the collections of the Oakland Museum, De Young Museum, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, The Yosemite National Park Museum, and the Bohemian Club as well as numerous other prestigious institutions and libraries.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Rich Artistic History of California's Missions

The rich history of California's early missions is a subject that has captivated artists for generations. Their depictions of these religious outposts that were founded between 1769 and 1823 continue to fascinate collectors and art historians to this day. We are pleased to present this outstanding group of paintings that feature four of these symbols of California history by four different artists.

Our first painting, Mission San Juan Capistrano, is by acclaimed early Southern California Impressionist Anna Hills. This lovely work features distinctly visible thick layers of paint that create an interesting surface texture with bright vibrant colors. She often worked outdoors, “en plein-air”, and this canvas is an excellent example of her light-infused impressionist style. This iconic building, founded in 1776, has been designated the “Jewel of the Missions” and was frequently chosen as a subject by this well respected Laguna Beach artist. This work is presented in a Richard Tobey frame.

Anna Hills (1882 - 1930)
"San Juan Capistrano Mission"
Oil on canvas
20 x 24 inches
AVAILABLE NOW

Our next painting is a charming rendering of the interior of Mission San Juan Capistrano by American Impressionist artist Alson Clark.  This painting is a quintessential California Impressionist work, with loose brushstrokes, rich colors, and close attention to lighting effects.

Alson Clark (1876 - 1949)
"Mission San Juan Capistrano"
SOLD

Our final painting is also by John Sykes, San Francisco Solano, the last of the series of California Missions, founded on July 4th 1823.   Also called “Sonoma Mission”, this building is centrally located in the town's historic square and is now part of the Sonoma State Historic Park. The work is signed by the artist lower right and inscribed “San Francisco de Solano, 1823”.

John Sykes (a859 - 1934)
"San Francisco de Solano"
Oil on canvas
21 x 40 inches
AVAILABLE NOW

For additional information about currently available paintings, contact Karges Fine Art by telephone at at (831) 625-4266, by email to gallery@kargesfineart.com, or visit our website at www.kargesfineart.com.



Tuesday, November 12, 2019

California Impressionism


In the late 19th century, a groundbreaking new style of painting was evolving in France by artists such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, and Pierre Auguste Renoir. This new genre featured rich, bold colors, close attention to light and atmospheric effects, and loose brushstrokes. French artists began to reject traditional academic painting techniques that favored realism. This new style focused on the way the human eye views the world at a quick glance, highlighting the play of light on objects, rather than the portrayal of objects and their “real-world”, detailed, solid surfaces. Distinctly unpopular as an artistic style when first introduced, works in this genre have now become some of the most easily recognized and sought after. Original paintings by important Impressionist artists now regularly break records at auction, and countless prints of the most famous works are widely purchased by collectors worldwide.

Artists in America became aware of these new techniques in the late 19th and early 20th century as many young painters traveled to Europe to study. Some artists in “The Golden State” began painting in this new style, and eventually became the important California Impressionists that are widely known and celebrated today. They studied changing atmospheric effects as they worked “en plein-air”, outdoors, to capture the beauty of the exceptional and unparalleled beauty of the hills, mountains, deserts, beaches and farmlands of the State.

The different styles seen in Southern and Northern California Impressionist paintings were developed in great part by the variances in climate and light in the two distinct regions.



In Southern California, artists such as Guy Rose, Edgar Payne, William Wendt, Maurice Braun, Orrin White, Granville Redmond, William Otte, Hanson Puthuff, Jack Wilkinson Smith and Alfred Mitchell were inspired by the sunlight and the warm climate of the area. 

Edgar Payne (1883 - 1947)
"Rocks and Surf"
SOLD

William Wendt (1865 - 1946)
"Announcement of Fall"
SOLD


The colors in their paintings tended to be brighter and more saturated than those of their counterparts in the Northern Areas of the state. Their brushstrokes were often bolder, stronger, and looser.


Orrin White (1883 - 1969)
"Sycamores and Coast"
AVAILABLE NOW

Granville Redmond (1871 - 1935)
"Wildflowers"
SOLD
William Otte (1871 - 1957)
"Santa Barbara Foothills with Eucalyptus"
AVAILABLE NOW



In contrast, Northern California Impressionism tended to be more restrained, softer, and more muted, as a result of the foggier, cooler weather and its effect on the atmosphere and light. The American art movement known as “Tonalism” that began in the 1880's and lasted well into the 1920's was still very popular in this part of the state and practiced by artists such as Percy Gray and Will Sparks. Tonalism focused on creating an interpretation of nature using muted colors, soft outlines, and subtle nuances and gradations of single hues in a narrow range. Some artists, such as Armin Hansen, William Ritschel, Joseph Kleitsch, Alice Chittenden and Jules Pages, however, practiced a more traditional form of Impressionism that featured stronger colors, as well as bolder, looser brushstrokes.


Joseph Kleitsch (1882 - 1931)
"Pont St. Michel, Paris"
AVAILABLE NOW
Percy Gray (1869 - 1952)
"Eucalpytus Trees and Wildflowers"
AVAILABLE NOW

Armin Hansen (1886 - 1957)
"Castroville Slough"
AVAILABLE NOW

William Ritschel (1864 - 1949)
"Point Lobos"
SOLD

For additional information about available California Impressionist paintings, please contact our staff at William A. Karges Fine Art in Carmel, California by phone at (800) 833-9185 or by email to gallery@kargesfineart.com or visit our website at www.kargesfineart.com.