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.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The History of the Laguna Beach Art Association

For over a century, the scenic beauty of the landscape and the coastline of Laguna Beach has attracted scores of talented and distinguished artists, including such important Early California painters as Edgar Payne, William Wendt, and George Gardner Symons

Photo Credit: Laguna Beach Visitors and Conference Bureau

The new California Impressionist style, emerging as a primary genre of painting in Southern California in the early part of the 20th century, was a natural match for the Laguna Beach area.  This style, borrowed from the French Impressionists who painted in the late 19th century, focused on the effects of light, a bright and colorful palette, and the loose application of paint to capture a passing moment in time.

One of the first artists to arrive in Laguna Beach was Norman St. Clair, who was originally from England.  He helped to establish the area as an artist’s colony when he arrived there sometime between 1899 and 1902.  Norman St. Clair urged the prominent landscape artist Granville Redmond to come to Laguna Beach and the two painted together there.

George Gardner Symons had a studio in Laguna Beach, and acquired property at Arch Beach in 1903.  He asked his friend William Wendt, who became one of the most significant Southern California Impressionists, to visit.  In 1913, Wendt and his wife Julia built a studio-home in Laguna Beach and settled there permanently in 1919 until his death in 1946.  Wendt was also a founding member of the Art Association.

William Wendt
"Seaside Cottages"
Oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

Frank Cuprien, (noted for his spectacular seascapes), and several other artists, rented rooms from local residents before building their own studios.  Cuprien first visited Laguna in 1912, was charmed by the beauty of the area, and later moved to Laguna and built a studio dubbed "The Viking."

The first step towards the creation of the Laguna Beach Art Association was to establish an art gallery. With funds collected from local artists and residents, the abandoned community house was repaired and renovated.   The gallery officially opened on July 27th, 1918.  The exhibition included nearly 100 artworks by 25 artists.   This gallery eventually became what is now the Laguna Art Museum.

The Laguna Beach Art Association was officially founded on August 22nd, 1918, with one hundred and fifty charter members, thirty-five of whom were artists. The group was originally organized by Edgar Payne, who served as President.  Payne, perhaps the most well known of all the Southern California Early California artists, moved to Laguna Beach in 1917 with his wife, Elsie.

Edgar Payne (1883 – 1947)
"Laguna Coastline"
28 x 34 inches

Founding members also included Frank Cuprien, Anna Hills, George Gardner Symons, and Hanson Puthuff.

Hanson Puthuff (1875 – 1972)
"California Coast"
Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches

Another famous member of the Laguna Beach Art Association was California Impressionist painter and master colorist Joseph Kleitsch .  He and his wife, Edna, moved to Laguna Beach in 1920, where Kleitsch was inspired by the quaint street scenes and beauty of the coast.  His works are noted for their beautiful, vibrant colors.  Anthony Anderson, an art critic for the "Los Angeles Times" in 1922, was quoted as saying: "Kleitsch has discovered more varieties of loveliness in Laguna Beach than any other artist...he explored little intimate places, he painted quaint old streets with towering eucalyptus, and the gardens rioting with bloom”.

Joseph Kleitsch
"Laguna Boats"
Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches

J.N. (Nick) Isch, proprietor of the general store, post office, and livery stable, and brother-in-law to Joseph Yoch, owned the most famous cottage of the period, appropriately named “The Paint Box”. The Paint Box housed many artists over the years, including Norman St. Clair, Donna Schuster, Mabel Alvarez, and Edgar Payne. The building later was lost to fire in 1926.

William Griffith, distinguished painter of landscapes and coastal scenes, moved to Laguna Beach in 1920, and served as President of the Laguna Beach Art Association.  He died in Laguna Beach on May 25th, 1940.

Home to at least three major annual Art Festivals, Laguna Beach remains a vibrant artist colony today; a wonderful gathering place for those who appreciate spectacular paintings, scenery, fine restaurants, and pristine beaches.

For additional information about available paintings, feel free to contact us at our Carmel Gallery at (800) 833-9185, or visit www.kargesfineart.com

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Uniquely situated in a spectacular setting on the Pacific Ocean near the Del Monte Forest, Carmel-by-the-Sea has been a gathering spot for talented visual artists for well over a hundred years. The natural scenic beauty of the area has attracted and inspired dozens of notable Early California painters including Armin Hansen (1886 – 1957), William Ritschel (1864 – 1949), Percy Gray, and Francis McComas (1875 – 1938).

A recent exhibition at the Monterey Museum of Art, “Artists at Continent’s End: The Monterey Peninsula Art Colony, 1875-1907” clearly confirmed that the natural beauty, the rich history, and mild climate have drawn talented artists to Carmel/Monterey area since the late 19th century. Organized by the Crocker Museum in Sacramento, the display included the quiet tonalist nocturnes of Early California artist Charles Rollo Peters (1862 – 1928), who lived in the area of Monterey known as Peter’s Gate.

Charles Rollo Peters
Oil on canvas, 10 x 16

Other artists active in the late 19th century represented in the exhibition included Jules Tavernier (1844 – 1889), noted for his quiet scenes featuring California’s unique Redwood trees, and Chris Jorgensen (1860 – 1935). Jorgensen, often remembered for his highly detailed coastal scenes featuring the Monterey area’s famous Cypress Trees, built a boulder home in Carmel in 1905 which later became the La Playa Hotel.

The city of Carmel-by-the-Sea was founded in 1902, and incorporated in 1916. In 1905, the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club was formed to support the local artistic community. In 1906, following the San Francisco earthquake, a large number of talented artists moved to the Carmel area. The Carmel Arts and Crafts Club held frequent exhibitions of works by local artists and, in 1913, began providing lessons for aspiring painters. Distinguished artists William Merritt Chase, Xavier Martinez, and Mary DeNeale Morgan all taught six week classes arranged by the Club for $15 in those early days.

Mary DeNeale Morgan
"Cypress, Point Lobos"
Oil on board, 16 x 12

In 1907, artists William Keith, Xavier Martinez, Karl Neuhaus, and Will Sparks founded the Del Monte Art Gallery, now the Herrmann Hall at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. This was one of the very first galleries focused specifically on work by California artists.

In 1923, the distinguished tonalist painter Percy Gray (1869 – 1952) moved to Monterey. His remarkable, quiet, introspective watercolor paintings are cherished by collectors today for their ability to capture the mysterious, misty qualities of the local landscape.

Percy Gray "Poppies and Eucalyptus"    SOLD

In 1927, The Carmel Art Association was formed, founded by artists Josephine Culbertson and Ida Johnson. Early members of the group included Paul Dougherty and E. Charlton Fortune. Their mission statement explains that “the Association exists to provide its members with a permanent art gallery, to advance knowledge of, and interest in the arts, and to create a spirit of cooperation and fellowship among artists and the community”. The association is the second oldest operating non-profit artist cooperative in the United States, after a group in Rockport, Massachusetts, and to this day, member artists are always selected by their peers.

Fine examples of the rich artistic history of the Carmel/Monterey area can be found in museums throughout California and the United States. Important paintings by artists including a large selection of works by Impressionist E. Charlton Fortune are currently on view at the Monterey Museum of Art in the exhibition “Land and Sea: Paintings and Photographs of Monterey and Beyond”. The exhibition continues through October 24, 2010.

For additional information regarding the available paintings featured in this post, please call William A. Karges Fine Art at (800) 833-9185 in Carmel, or visit our website at www.kargesfineart.com

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Millard Sheets Exhibit at Pasadena Museum of California Art

On February 14, 2010, the exhibit “Millard Sheets: The Early Years (1926 – 1944) opened at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Curator Gordon McClelland has organized the first cohesive survey of the first two decades of this early California painter’s career.

Emma Jacobson-Sive, Pasadena Museum of California Art Director of Public Relations, noted “It is often a challenge to narrow down works of a prolific and important artist, but the emphasis on the time period--the earlier part of Sheets’ career--certainly helped focus the exhibition. The works selected capture the changes and evolution of the artist’s style and by including some of his successful students’ work, they also capture his influence too.”

Millard Sheets was born in Pomona, California, in 1907. He attended the Chouinard Art School in Los Angeles, studying with Clarence Hinkle. Following a painting trip through Europe, Sheets returned to Los Angeles to teach at Chouinard. He is best remembered for his depression-era regionalist works known as the “California Scene Paintings.” Sheets spent 20 years teaching at Scripps College, and 6 years as the director of the Otis Institute before retiring to Mendocino County in 1960.

Millard Sheets

“The Capitol Building” was a part of a larges series Millard Sheets completed in the 1950’s and early 60’s as a commission to promote areas serviced by United Airlines. The images were reproduced in a series of United Airline calendars to promote the wonder of travel.

Sheets, well known for his individual paintings, is also known for the artworks featured in the interiors and exteriors of dozens of buildings in Los Angeles County. He also drew, 1n 1957, the Los Angeles County Seal

To view available paintings by Millard Sheets, visit William A. Karges Fine Art at Dolores and Sixth Ave. in Carmel, CA, call (800) 833-9185 or visit www.kargesfineart.com