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.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Paul de Longpre "The King of Flower Painters"

Paul de Longpre was born in Lyon, France in 1855 to the Maucherat de Longpre family. The textile-design industry was an important commercial sector in Lyon, and there were numerous artists known for their skills at painting flowers.  He was certainly exposed to their works as a child, and was likely inspired by the subject matter as he began drawing floral images at a very young age. By the age of 12, de Longpre was earning an income painting flowers on fans for a Parisian firm.

He became a student in Paris at the respected Ecole des Beaux Arts and his paintings were becoming more popular and were enjoyed by a larger audience.  His early success continued with acceptance of a painting by the Paris Salon.  De Longpre was a well known artist in Paris when he moved to New York in 1890.

Paul de Longpre
"Still Life with Violets and Poppies"

His artistic skills continued to develop during this period while he worked as a commercial illustrator and created plein-air paintings in the surrounding non-urban areas.  He was also considered to be a talented musician, composing sixteen works between 1891 and 1907.  His artistic career continued to grow and his works were praised by the public at his first New York exhibition in 1896.  He began to reproduce his most popular works as lithographs, which reached a broader audience and increased his fame and celebrity. Large numbers of these prints survive today.

Watercolor painting by Early California Artist Paul de Longpre
Paul de Longpre

Attracted by the beauty of the landscape and the variety of flowers in Southern California, de Longpre and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1898. By this point in his career, he was a relatively wealthy man and was able to build an extravagant home there at Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard.  The large estate included tended gardens that became a tourist attraction, drawing some 25,000 visitors each year. Painting floral scenes almost exclusively with watercolors, de Longpre found inspiration in the 4,000 rose bushes he had on his estate. His fame increased and a street was even named after him, De Longpre Avenue in Hollywood.

Paul de Longpres
"Roses, Bumblebees and Bird"

He was an industrious and very active artist throughout this period of his career as he continued to produce chromolithographic prints and taught students the nuances of watercolor painting.  He died at the relatively young age of fifty-six, famous and popular, and is remembered to this day as “The King of Flower Painters”.

Paul de Longpre

For additional information, call our Carmel, CA gallery at (800) 833-9185, email us at gallery@kargesfineart.com, or visit www.kargesfineart.com.

To view a large group of paintings by this important artist, please visit:
Karges Fine Art - Paul de Longpre

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Percy Gray's Early California Tonalist Watercolors

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.  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. 

Born in San Francisco in 1869 to a family with an artistic heritage, Gray inherited a passion for art, and enrolled at the California School of Design at the age of sixteen. After working as a newspaper illustrator, he began his full-time career as a landscape painter in the Bay Area.  He originally started working with oils. However, he became allergic to these materials, prompting his switch to watercolor.

Percy Gray "Eucalyptus Trees and Wildflowers"
16 x 20 inches

The inclusion of wildflowers in his paintings contributed to the romantic, poetic mood often seen in the artist's tonalist works.  The colored flowers provide a perfect contrast to the softer subtler colors seen in the sky and hills in the background.

Tonalist Watercolor by Early California Watercolor Artist Percy Gray
Percy Gray
"Landscape with Oaks"
7 x 9 1/2 inches
Throughout his career his style was reminiscent of the Barbizon School artists and grays, browns, and greens were usually his palette of choice.  His paintings that feature clouds and moody skies above the trees have a quiet, pastoral tone and convey calmness, peace, and timelessness.  He often focused on the uniquely hazy atmospheric effects and softly blurred outlines commonly found in Northern California, and frequently included his signature towering, majestic oak trees.

Percy Gray
"Eucalypti with Ranch House"
15 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches
Creating visual poetry, large elegant trees are often abundant in his paintings.  Works showcasing the gently sweeping branches of the Eucalypti are particularly sought-after by collectors.

Today, Percy Gray is unquestionably considered one of the most successful and well-known landscape painters to have worked in California during the early 20th Century.  Gray spent his last years in Marin County continuing to paint until his death in 1952.  His work has been exhibited at many public institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Oakland Museum, Santa Barbara Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and the Monterey Museum of Art.

For additional information about the artist and currently available paintings by Percy Gray, please  visit our website at www.kargesfineart.com, contact Karges Fine Art in Carmel, California by email to gallery@kargesfineart.com or by telephone at (831) 625-4266.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Unique Style and Bold Color Combinations of Birger Sandzen

Birger Sandzen was born in Blidsberg, Sweden in 1871 and spent the majority of his successful career in Lindsborg, Kansas, where he also worked as an art professor at Bethany College. He is best known for his colorful, dynamic landscapes featuring mountain lakes and rivers, boulders, aspen trees and rustic buildings. The style and spirit of his works, though uniquely individual, varied throughout his career from Pointillist and Fauvist, to Expressionist and Post-Impressionist. His artworks are dramatic, exciting and vibrant.

Our first work, “Iceberg Peak, Colorado State Park”  features rich vivid colors with brilliant brushwork. A truly outstanding example of his distinctive style, the surface emphasizes a thick application of paint in a manner reminiscent of Van Gogh or Cezanne. The work showcases his fascination with rich, wonderfully bold color combinations.

Birger Sandzen (1871 - 1954)
"Iceberg Peak, Colorado State Park"

Our second work, “Early Fall”, was painted later in Sandzen's career in 1951. The location is one of the artist's most popular settings, the Smoky Hill River in central Kansas. This is a classic example of his mature work, using a slightly softer and more subdued color palette. The application of paint on the surface, while still energetic and vigorous, is somewhat more restrained.

Birger Sandzen (1871 - 1954)
"Early Fall, Smoky Hill River, Kansas, 1951"
Oil on board, 20 x 24 inches

Birger Sandzen's work is internationally known and has been exhibited and held in the collections of numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Uffizi in Florence, the British Museum, the Denver Art Museum, and the Library of Congress.

For additional information about these or other available paintings by early American and California artists, contact Karges Fine Art at (800) 833-9185 or visit www.kargesfineart.com.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Romance of Early California Landscapes

What is it that has always attracted people to Early California painting? Works created during the period between 1870 and 1940, plein air works in particular, call attention to the exceptional and unparalleled beauty of the hills, mountains, deserts, and farmlands of the Golden State. These cherished historic works remind us of a romantic era and a quieter time in the history of the “Land of Sunshine and Opportunity”.

Joan Irvine Smith, founder of the Irvine Museum, noted that “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.”

Even before the land around Yosemite Valley became part of Yosemite National Park in 1890, the breathtaking views of this area captivated countless notable artists and writers. 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, Thomas Hill is especially well known for his western landscapes and panoramic views of our National Parks. We are pleased to present this magnificent scene of Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite, below, which showcases the natural beauty of the area.

Thomas Hill (1829 - 1908)
"Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite"

Millard Sheets was one of the seminal artists working in California from the late 1920's until his death in the late 1980's. Often identified as the most influential of the "California Scene Painters" during the 1930's and 40's, Sheets was a master watercolorist and oil painter. He also designed and oversaw the implementation of over 100 public murals, and as one of the directors of the WPA Art Program for Southern California, his leadership and impact on the local art world cannot be overstated.

Millard Sheets was born in 1907 in Pomona, California and grew up on a ranch, where he developed a love of the land and horses. "Oro Grande, 1937", below, is a fine example of his unique style that also reveals his enduring attraction to simple, rustic, rural scenes. His paintings can be found the collections of numerous important museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Chicago Art Institute, and the National Gallery in Washington D.C.

Millard Sheets (1907 - 1989)
"Oro Grande, 1937"
Watercolor, 13 x 30 inches

American Impressionist Orrin White is best known for his decorative Southern California landscape paintings. He was born in Illinois in 1883 and moved to Los Angeles in 1912, where he worked for an interior design firm and painted in his spare time. In 1915 his works were accepted to both the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, and the 1915-1916 Panama-California International Exposition in San Diego, and he was inspired to begin painting full-time.

“Sycamores and Coast”, below, is painted in a classic impressionist style, with rich, bold colors, close attention to light and atmospheric effects, and loose brushstrokes. The strong composition features the towering, majestic trees that are often found in his finest plein-air works.

Orrin White (1883 - 1969)
"Sycamores and Coast"
Oil on canvas, 24 x 32 inches

The appeal of historical California art is multi-faceted and often rooted in deeply-felt emotions and fundamental human nature. This bucolic scene from the remarkable plein-air watercolorist Marion Wachtel, “Santa Paula”, below, evokes a peaceful, quiet mood, and serves as a wonderful counterpoint to the fast pace of today's world.

Born in Milwaukee in1870 into an artistic family, Marion Wachtel studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, in New York City with William Merritt Chase, and in Northern California with William Keith. She and her husband, notable early Southern California landscape artist Elmer Wachtel, eventually moved to an art community near the Arroyo in Pasadena, a favorite location for landscape painters of that era.

Marion Wachtel (1870 - 1954)
"Santa Paula"
Oil on canvas, 20 x 30 inches

Early California landscapes 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 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.

For additional information about these paintings or other currently available artworks, please visit www.kargesfineart.com, call (800) 833-9185, or email the Director of our Carmel Gallery, Patrick Kraft, at gallery@kargesfineart.com.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Exotic World of Jessie Arms Botke

During the height of her career, Jessie Arms Botke was proclaimed by critics as the greatest decorative painter of the West. The art world consisted primarily of male artists in the early twentieth century, yet Botke quickly earned a name for herself through a strong work ethic and an undeniable talent. She is primarily remembered for her ornate depictions of exotic birds, especially pelicans, geese, ducks, cockatoos, and peacocks, as well as her elegant paintings of tropical flowers, which inspired her to a high level of artistry.
No matter the medium, Botke’s paintings are unique and filled with both wonder and fantasy. From her early plein air landscapes and her decorative friezes to her more mature gold-leaf oil compositions, Botke’s work remained relevant, even in the ‘60s, as a testament to her longevity as an artist and the sheer beauty of her creations.

Jessie Arms Botke
"Ducks and Magnolia"
Oil and gold leaf on board
9 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches

Born in Chicago in 1883, Jessie Arms began painting and sketching at a young age. By 1902, she had enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago, where she trained under the tutelage of renowned artists and teachers John C. Johansen and Charles Woodbury. Upon graduation, she moved to New York City to work for Albert Herter of Herter Looms, famed textile and tapestry design firm. She later contributed to a series of wall murals done by Herter for San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel.

"Peacocks and Poppies"
Oil and gold leaf on board
32 x 28 inches

After moving back home to Chicago, Jessie Arms met artist Cornelis Botke, who soon became her husband and lifelong partner. In 1929, the happy couple settled in Santa Paula, California’s Wheeler Canyon on a peaceful ranch consisting of ten acres. From her home and studio, Botke became the most exceptional decorative painter of the twentieth century with her bold portrayals of birds and flora, which were heavily inspired by Japanese screens. Later in life, she also proved herself to be a master watercolorist and printmaker.

Click here to view additional examples of Botke's paintings.
Click here for additional in-depth information about the artist and her life.

Call William A. Karges Fine Art at (800) 833-9185 for additional information about available paintings by Jessie Arms Botke and other early California artists, or email gallery@kargesfineart.com.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Celebrating Summer Through the Art of the Central California Coast

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the natural beauty of the California Coast and 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 breathtaking scenery.

The paintings we present today represent just a few of the countless iconic and instantly recognizable views that make the area so famous. These early and contemporary California artists have skillfully captured the beauty of the quiet coves of Point Lobos State Park, the towering pines of the Del Monte Forest, and the magnificent panoramic vistas of the Big Sur coast.

"South Shore"
Dennis Doheny (b. 1956)
Oil on linen
24 x 30 inches

Our first work “South Shore”, seen above, by award-winning contemporary landscape artist Dennis Doheny, shows a spectacular view of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. The artist perfectly captures the shimmering water's surface with rich, jewel-like colors and skilled brushwork.

Our next work, “Monterey Pines” by Australian-born artist FrancisMcComas, showcases the power and strength of the magnificent trees of the Del Monte Forest. A master watercolorist, McComas moved to Carmel in 1912 and was famous for his California landscapes. This work is a fine example of the soft Tonal palette used by many early northern California painters.

"Monterey Pines"
Francis McComas (1875 - 1938)
32 x 27 inches

“Unyielding”, by contemporary artist Cindy Baron, features a quintessential view of the Central California coastline. Her works are nationally recognized and she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including both “Best in Show” and the “Irvine Museum Award of Excellence” at the 2018 Laguna Invitational.  She is a member of the historic California Art Club and is a signature member of the American Impressionist Society.

Cindy Baron (b. 1957)
Oil on board
30 x 30 inches

For additional information about these, or other original paintings by California artists, contact the staff at William A. Karges Fine art by telephone at (800) 833-9185 or by email at gallery@kargesfineart.com

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Majestic Yosemite

Even before the land around Yosemite Valley became part of Yosemite National Park in 1890, the breathtaking views of this area captivated countless notable artists and writers.  This awe-inspiring region still attracts and energizes contemporary artists today as they follow in the footsteps of their predecessors.

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)
Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite

This painting by Thomas Hill, above, shows the iconic vista of towering "Bridalveil Fall". This is a Barbizon-style work, moving towards Impressionism.  The figure in the foreground adds additional interest to the composition and gives the viewer a sense of the grand scale of the imposing landscape.

Our next work, “Yosemite Rush” (Yosemite Falls), below, is by talented contemporary artist Cindy Baron. The viewer immediately feels the dynamic energy and force of the falling water in this unusual and striking close-up view of the quintessential landmark.

Cindy Baron (b. 1957)
Yosemite Rush (Yosemite Falls)
30 x 30 inches
Oil on board

Baron's paintings are nationally recognized and she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including both “Best in Show” and the “Irvine Museum Award of Excellence” at the 2018 Laguna Invitational.  She is a member of the historic California Art Club and is a signature member of the American Impressionist Society.  Click here for additional information and to view currently available works.

For pricing and additional details about these and other early and contemporary California paintings, please visit our website at www.kargesfineart.com call (800) 884-4022, email maureen@kargesfineart.com, or stop by our gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea at Dolores and Sixth Ave, or our gallery in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, at 8268 Melrose Ave.