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

1 comment:

  1. I am so impressed,It's beautiful, and very beachy. Love those colors.
    beach art


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