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, 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 third painting is by A. Marshall, who was active as an artist in California in 1905. This large format canvas illustrates the La Purisima Concepcion Mission, founded in 1787 near Lompoc. This work shows the building and surrounding fields on a quiet, sunny afternoon and is signed and dated 1905 lower right. The site is now a California State Historic Park and “living museum” with docents in period costume and live animals on the grounds.

A Marshall (active early 20th Century)
"La Purisima Mission, 1905"
Oil on canvas
20 x 40 inches
AVAILABLE NOW
Our next work features San Gabriel Arcangel, one of the earliest missions, located nine miles east of downtown Los Angeles and founded in 1771. It was painted by artist John Sykes, who was born in England and immigrated to Santa Barbara, California. Missions were one of his favorite subjects and he skillfully portrays the grandeur of this imposing “fortress-like” structure. The painting is inscribed “San Gabriel Mission, 1771” lower left and signed by the artist lower right.


John Sykes (1859 - 1934)
"San Gabriel Mission"
Oil on canvas
21 x 40 inches
AVAILABLE NOW
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.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Southern California Impressionist Joseph Kleitsch

Joseph Kleitsch
(1882 - 1931)

Joseph Kleitsch is considered to be one of the most important and influential of the early Southern California Impressionists.  Born in Hungary in 1882, he began painting at age seven, and trained in Budapest, Munich and Paris.  By the age of 17, he was an accomplished portraitist, with sitters such as Franz Josef of Austria.  Furthering his studies, Kleitsch immigrated to the United States around 1901, first setting in Ohio, then in Denver in 1905.  He married his first wife, Emma Multner, in October of 1904 and they moved to Mexico City in 1909.  His outstanding portraits of Mexico's President Francisco Madero were highly regarded.  In 1913 his wife, Emma, passed away.

After 1914 Klietsch painted many prominent local citizens while studying at the Art Institute of Chicago.  He became a teacher at the well known school, where he taught until 1919, and was awarded the Gold Medal in 1914 when he exhibited his work there. In 1914 he married an art teacher named Edna Gregatis, and their son Eugene was born in 1915.

Settling in Laguna Beach in 1920, he established the Kleitsch Academy of Art. He had become acquainted in Chicago with the important southern California Impressionist painter, Edgar Payne, who had already settled in the Laguna Beach area.  Kleitsch's California works, exhibited at the Stendahl Galleries in Los Angeles, were focused on the landscape, gardens, and architecture around his home in Laguna Beach, as well as coastal scenes.  He traveled to various locations in California including Carmel, Mission San Juan Capistrano and San Francisco in search of interesting and inspiring subjects.

Joseph Kleitsch
"Laguna Coastline"
SOLD

He traveled to Europe between 1926 and 1929, including to Giverny, France, where he was inspired by the dramatic setting of Claude Monet's acclaimed works.

Joseph Kleitsch
"Canteloupe, Paris, 1927"
SOLD

Kleitsch, a master colorist, is celebrated for his bold, energetic brushwork, and his unique and elegant style.  He often painted outdoors, “en plein-air”, and was one of the founders of the Painters' and Sculptors' Club in 1923.  Throughout the course of his successful career, he also was a member of the Chicago Society of Artists, The Palette and Chisel Club of Chicago, and the Laguna Beach Art Association.  His work was awarded the Grand Prize and the Figure Prize by Laguna Beach Art Association.

Joseph Kleitsch
"Laguna, 1925"
SOLD

His paintings can be found in the collections of the Laguna Beach Museum of Art, the Irvine Museum, and the Fleischer Museum.

Kleitsch died on November 16th, 1931 at the age of forty-nine of a heart attack, while he was in front of the Courthouse in Santa Ana, California.


Joseph Kleitsch
"Pont St. Michel, 1927"
Oil on canvas
21 x 18 inches
AVAILABLE NOW

“Pont St. Michel”, shown above, depicts the famous bridge in Paris, originally constructed in 1378, that links the Place Saint-Michel on the left bank of the river Seine to the Ile de la Cite.

For additional information about this artist, call William A. Karges Fine Art at (800) 833-9185, email to gallery@kargesfineart.com, or visit our website at www.kargesfineart.com/joseph-kleitsch

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"
ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR PAINTING
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE NOW

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
"Lilacs"
SOLD


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"
SOLD

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
"Orchids"
SOLD

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