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Moods of California

Our Golden State is a multi-faceted expanse of land that boasts seven unique ecological regions, each with distinctive flora, fauna and climate. These regions are: North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast, Shasta-Cascades, Sierra Nevada, Central Valley and Desert. This exhibition explores the various landscapes that characterize California.

Among the artists represented in this exhibition, one can see works by a number of important California painters such as J. Bond Francisco, Edgar Payne, Paul Lauritz and William Wendt, among others.

John Bond Francisco (1863-1931) was recognized as the best painter in Los Angeles at the turn of the twentieth century. Known for his tonal views of the San Gabriel Mountains, Scrub Oak shows the landscape under a threatening sky, perhaps just prior to a thunderstorm.

Edgar Payne (1883-1947) is immediately identifiable by his numerous paintings of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Rugged Peaks is an imposing work painted in his studio using a number of on-the-spot plein air sketches as the basis for this large painting. By contrast, Payne’s Sycamore in Autumn, painted in what is now Irvine Park in 1916, is an intimate study of light and color in the shade of a giant sycamore tree.

Norwegian-born Paul Lauritz (1889-1975) also fell under the spell of the Sierra Nevada range and painted Mountain Silence in 1922. His Poinsettias is a more delicate rendition of the scarlet blossoms, painted against an adobe wall at the old Mission San Juan Capistrano.

William Wendt (1865-1946) produced a significant number of views of Southern California. His majestic Arcadian Hills, painted in 1910, shows an invigorating spring landscape in the Santa Monica Mountains, just north-west of Los Angeles. The Old and the New is set near San Luis Obispo, not far from the “Nine Sisters,” a series of ancient volcanic outcrops.

The exhibition includes scenes of the Arroyo Seco, San Diego County, Monterey, the Central Valley, the Mojave Desert, Yosemite Valley and other picturesque parts of California.

Suggested Books

To see The Irvine Museum Collection’s entire collection of high-quality books, cards and prints, please visit the bookstore.