About the Art Library
To help make informed decisions towards collecting art, American Legacy Fine Arts encourages ALFA visitors to peruse through our extensive archives of articles and biographies about artists and art movements, many written by ALFA’s Director, Elaine Adams. By studying art history, including the lives of artists and what inspires them to create, one can appreciate a myriad of timeless attributes in a fine work of art as well as the significant contributions artists make to our culture.
Empathy for Beauty in the 21st Century: Signature Artists of the California Art Club shares thirty contemporary-traditional artists’ depictions of experiencing incredible moments of beauty amid our challenging century. The nearly 40 exhibited works are the artists’ responses to being confronted by the poetical. The diverse range of subjects displayed, from evocative figures to shinning landscapes and creatures of the deep, shows these artists discovering multiple avenues of inspiration through visual, musical, literary or spiritual encounters.
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Franz A. Bischoff (1864-1929) : A Bohemian Bouquet by Jean Stern, California Art Club Newsletter, Fall 2010
Perhaps it was the free spirit of the gypsy lifestyle associated with Bohemia that expounded a litany of unique and vibrant artists in the mid-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Or perhaps it was the austerity of the Victorian Era that inspired a need to invent Bohemianism. In either case, it was at the height of Bohemian-chic that Franz Anton Bischoff was born on January 14, 1864 in Steinschönau (now known as Kamenický Šenov), a small town about fifty miles north of Prague in northern Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Franz A. Bischoff (1864-1929) : The Unique Artistic Journey Of Franz A. Bischoff, by Jean Stern, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Winter 2011
Although his name is not widely known today, Franz A. Bischoff (1864-1929) was once celebrated across the United States. Best known for the sumptuously faded pink roses he painted on china and canvas, Bischoff drew attention at both the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris and the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. In 1910, he helped launch the California Art Club, which went on to become the most powerful art organization in Los Angeles, and remains influential today. Transcending his temporal success, however, are his luminous paintings, which demonstrate the exceptional gifts for color and design he first honed while decorating porcelain in central Europe.
Sir Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956), R.A. – The Great Innovator by William Stout, California Art Club Newsletter, Summer 2006
At the peak of his fame Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956) was the artistic lion of his day. Although Brangwyn is considered by many to be one of the greatest artists Britain has ever produced, his robust life actually began in Belgium. Frank Brangwyn was born in Bruges on May 12, 1867 as Guillaume François Brangwyn, the third son of a Welsh mother, Eleanor Griffiths, and English father, William Curtis Brangwyn.
Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900) and the Splendour of Small-Scale Landscapes by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Spring 2008
Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900) was one of the most prominent American landscape painters of the nineteenth century. A prolific and successful artist, Church is chiefly remembered for his large-scale epic scenes of the Hudson River Valley and South America that continue to captivate audiences, influence artists and receive great critical acclaim. However, it is in his small-scale preparatory works that he reveals his technical virtuosity, emotional sensitivity and intimacy with his subjects.
Alson Skinner Clark (1876-1949) – An American Impressionist, by Deborah Epstein Solon, California Art Club Newsletter, Winter/Spring 2006
Alson Skinner Clark (1876–1949) is hardly a familiar name, even to scholars of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American art. The resuscitation of Clark’s career is part of the ongoing scholarship in the field of American Impressionism whose scope has broadened significantly within the last ten years to include artists heretofore overlooked.
Francois Jean Baptiste Benjamin Constant (1845-1902) – A Multi-Faceted Artist By Peter Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2015
Francois Jean Baptiste Benjamin Constant (1845–1902), later known as Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant, had an art career that was not only remarkable and legendary, but one that was multifaceted. He was a brilliant colourist who specialized in painting historic subjects and "Oriental" themes. He was a coveted art instructor who subsequently taught future leaders in the American Impressionist movement. He was a muralist whose works encompassed grand epic themes and allegorical motifs. In his later years Benjamin-Constant became one of the world’s most sought-after portrait artists, painting royalty and notables on two continents.
Orphaned at nine, esteemed artist by thirty-three, execution judge at forty-five and exiled at sixty-eight; Jacques-Louis David’s (1748–1825) life was led on a tumultuous path while he searched for a paradigm of virtue. When David was only nine his garrulous father, Louis-Maurice, a prominent Parisian merchant, was challenged to a pistol duel and killed. Little is known of David's mother Marie-Geneviève Buron, except that after she became a widow she deposited her son in the care of her two brothers. David’s uncles, François
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Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904): Recalling The Pinnacle Of Fine Art by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Summer 2010
What the average public knows about nineteenth century art is only a small fraction of its extensive reality. Ask someone what was the most popular art movement of the late nineteenth century, and most would respond French Impressionism, completely dismissing the popular and simultaneous art movements of the Pre-Raphaelites, the Barbizons, the Neo-Classicists, the Naturalists, Art Nouveau, and the Symbolists. And what does the average public know about the painter and sculptor, Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904) who started out as a Neo-grecist and ended up as a Realist and an Orientalist?
Joseph Duncan Gleason (1881-1959) – A Buoyant Life by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Summer 2012
If you were to mention sailors and steamboats in the same breath in the hearing of some old shellback of a sea dog, he would probably mutter a few deep sea oaths and spring the old one about iron ships and wooden men, etc.—‘Deck hands, that’s all they are,’ says he.” Such was the controversy among mariners in the early twentieth century and such was the salty repartee of Joseph Duncan Gleason (1881–1959), as recounted from his article, “A Perilous Voyage,” printed in The Wanderlust while aboard the Intrepid.
Nearly six feet four and an imposing 250 pounds, Armin Carl Hansen (1886–1957) was as powerful as his paintings. When he entered a room, it was as though a blast of salt air had blown in from the Pacific. According to Los Angeles Times art critic Antony Anderson, who wrote on May 23, 1915, “Looking at the paintings by Armin C. Hansen . . . , you will at once and inevitably conclude that the painter of such big men and breezy seas must be big and breezy himself. No other sort of man could possibly have done them.... You will be right, for Armin Hansen is big and young and strong—the living embodiment of his own pictures.”
Lovell Birge Harrison (1854-1929): Uniting Man and Nature in Paint by Andrea Husby, Ph.D., California Art Club Newsletter, Spring 2012
Artist, illustrator, writer, teacher and critic, Lovell Birge Harrison’s (1854-1929) multifaceted talents placed him among the first rank of American artists, in figure, landscape and marine painting, in a career that spanned the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth. In 1876, while Harrison was still a student, he met the impressive John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Sargent advised Harrison to terminate his studies with Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and to further his art education in Paris. Harrison took Sargent’s advice and soon left for France.
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William Lees Judson (1842-1928) – The Artist Who Created Legacies by Peter Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Spring 2013
William Lees Judson was a leader among early California plein air painters. Not only was he one of the first artists to live and work in Los Angeles, but he deeply cared about the surrounding landscape—and was in fact a crusader for clean air, winning battles for conservation and environmental concerns. Judson acutely believed in preserving the sense of freedom, natural beauty, and quality craftsmanship that was then the lifestyle of southern California at the turn-of-the-twentieth-century. His endeavours succeeded to a large degree.
The Art of Paul Jacoulet (1897-1960) A Tribute to the Floating World by Peter Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, February 1998
Pasadena, California is perhaps best known in New Year's Day Rose Bowl Game and Rose Parade. The world famous parade was initiated one-hundred nine years ago by members of the Valley Hunt Club. Orange Grove Boulevard in their horse-drawn carriages laden with roses to celebrate the New Year. The Rose Parade is now viewed via television throughout the world. Yet, as anyone who has ever been to the parade can testify "the television camera don't do it justice."
William Keith (1838-1911): Seeking The Unseen Spiritual Sense In Nature by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Winter 2011
America in the mid-19th century was rapidly becoming a major economic force, and with its new-found wealth came the pursuit for culture and refined living. After all, this was a young nation with plenty of imagination and drive, but an undeveloped sense of aesthetics and nascent cultural roots. The concentration of prosperity was skewed on the eastern seaboard and radiated closely from where the nation was first colonized in 1620 in Massachusetts. By contrast, much of the western territories were rural and remote.
I am particularly pleased that the Pacific Asia Museum is mounting an exhibition of the work of American Orientalist Theodore Lukits because Lukits was the teacher and major influence on my good friend Peter Adams, president of the California Art Club and a well-known California plein-air painter. I am sure you will all be interested to read the remarks in this catalogue by Jeffrey Morseburg who has carefully studied Theodore Lukits and written an enlightening account of this artist's life and work.
Theodore N. Lukits (1897-1992) Traditon and Innovation (Part I of II) by Jeffrey Morseburg, California Art Club Newsltter, October 1998
For a number of years I have been involved in the process of r searching and writing about the late California painter Theodore N. Lukits I t897-199>.). In order to prepare for a number of upcoming museum exhibitions devoted to his life and work, I have spent much of the past year reviewing his personal papers and cataloging his artwork. Because of my familiarity with his artwork and the fact that I knew the artist well and worked with him for a number of years, one would presume that writing about him would he an easy task.
Theodore N. Lukits (1897-1992) Traditon and Innovation (Part II of II) by Jeffrey Morseburg, California Art Club Newsletter, December 1998
Although the renowned artists Alphonse Mucha I Igbo—r939) and Edwin Blashfield ii848-193 6) inspired Lukits to dream of important mural commissions, Lukits realized that he needed to establish himself as a professional painter before he could hope to garner ambitious commissions. He began his artistic career at the age of seventeen, initially working as an illustrator for regional publications in the Midwest. Eventually, he created illustrations for prestigious national magazines including, Saturday Evening Post, Colliers. and Harpers.
Jean Mannheim (1861-1945): Cultivating Colour and Versatility in California by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Fall 2011
The early twentieth century was an incredibly dynamic period for California and in particular, for southern California and Los Angeles. The allure of a mild climate, the beauty of the Golden State, and the search for new opportunities led to an influx of innovative artists, many already well-established and respected in the East and Midwest. Inspired by their new and pristine surroundings these academically-trained artists would give rise to the regional art movement that would become known as California Plein Air or California Impressionism. Among these artists was the German-born Jean Mannheim who arrived in Los Angeles in 1908.
William McCloskey (1859-1941) and Alberta Binford McCloskey (1863-1911): Partners in Illusion by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, May 1996
According to contemporary marriage/divorce statistics, one of the most frequent arguments experienced between a married couple is what program to watch on television. Imagine how incredible it must be for a couple with individual creative currents to decide what to paint together on the very same canvas. Somehow the McCloskeys, components of the Victorian Age, were successful at channeling in on the same artistic wavelength. The exhibition, rightfully entitled Partners in Illusion, conjures up ideas of a team of supernatural performers in the art of deceiving the eye.
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Edgar Alwin Payne (1883-1947) – In Pursuit of Poetic Grandeur, by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Winter 2012
Edgar Alwin Payne was born on March 1, 1883, possibly in the rural small town of Washburn, Missouri, somewhere near Cassville in Barry County located in the southwest part of the state near the Arkansas border. As Barry County did not record official births until 1910, the actual location of Payne’s birth is not known. Essentially, Edgar Payne’s childhood was spent in the Ozark Mountains where he was raised as a farm boy and surrounded by the great outdoors. Edgar Payne’s father, John Hill Payne, was a descendent of the Paynes and Herefords of Virginia.
One afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware, six of Howard Pyle’s top students were working on their drawings when a new student entered. The newcomer had just been admitted into the select company, and he was eager to prove himself. He already had some art training under his belt, such as drawing from the plaster cast and the figure, and a grounding in perspective and anatomy. Mr. Pyle set him to work in front of a cast of Donatello's portrait bust of the “Unknown Lady.”
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David Roberts (1796-1864) – The Lure of an Occidental by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, October 2001
David Roberts was not born to a privileged class, nor did he have the advantages of a cultured environment — what he did possess, however, were the greatest of all riches — talent, determination, faith, and a sense of adventure. David Roberts was born on October 24, 1796 in the small village of Stockbridge, Scotland near the capital of Edinburgh. His father, John Roberts, was a cobbler, and his mother, Christine, took in laundry.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) – Norman Rockwell’s Paintings of Character by Michael Zakian, California Art Club Newsletter, Fall 2012
Although Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) died thirty-five years ago, his work continues to grow in popularity. In 1999 the High Museum of Art in Atlanta organized a travelling retrospective Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People that drew huge crowds when it toured across the nation for three years. The exhibition made waves in the art world when it concluded its tour in 2002 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, a museum dedicated to modernism and non-objective abstraction.
Guy Rose (1867-1925) – An American Impressionist by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, December 1995
It is interesting how life can unfold and unwittingly create one's own destiny. Thus was the case in the life of Guy Rose. Born as the seventh of eleven children on the third of March in 1.867, Mr. Rose was raised on his family ranch, "Sunny Slope", in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California, where from a young age he displayed more of a penchant for books than for horses. Guy Rose's father, L.J. Rose was of Bavarian descent who immigrated with his family to America at age eleven. Besides being known for his resourcefulness and ambition, L.J.Rose became known for his keen awareness of aesthetic beauty. No doubt all these characteristics played an instrumental role in his son's life as an artist.
Two of mankind's most innate drives are hunting and creating art. By painting animals and hunting scenes on cave walls, primitive man engendered a powerful belief system. He believed that by capturing an animal's spirit as an image the animal could be overpowered. By the Middle Ages, civilized European nations applied rules of etiquette to the hunt. In Germany deer and game birds were reserved for Royal hunters as "Hoch-wild" (high game). Non-royals were permitted to hunt "Niederwild" (low game), which included hare, fox, and non-game birds. As dichotomous as it may seem, dedicated hunters are quick to defend their activities as catalysts for land preservation and environmental balance. Their opportunities to closely study nature and the characteristics of wild animals in their surroundings instill in hunters a deeper appreciation for the wilderness.
Jose Segrelles (1885-1969) – Painted Wonders of Space and Time by William Stout, California Art Club Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2015
José Segrelles (1885–1969) is among the finest artists to emerge from the Valencia region of Spain—and unequalled in his unfathomable imagination. His extensive oeuvre includes futuristic and outer space themes and, later in life, religious works. He can be considered one of the greatest mystical, fantasy, and science fiction artists ever to have existed. Yet today Segrelles is virtually unknown outside his native Province of Valencia.
Millard Sheets (1907-1989) by Gordon T. McClelland and Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Winter 2010
Perhaps more than any other artist, Millard Owen Sheets (1907-1989) created a multi-faceted arts legacy that is uniquely Californian and evocative of his times. His prolific output included architecture, product design, tile murals, stained glass windows and continuous exploration into various artistic directions. Moreover, he provided a basis for arts education that continues to serve art students today.
Jules Tavernier (1844-1889) by Scott Shields and Claudine Chalmers, California Art Club Newsletter, Summer-Fall 2014
An illustrator, painter, adventurer, and visionary, nineteenth-century French artist Jules Tavernier (1844–1889) was one of the American West’s foremost talents, with a natural ability that many believed was second to none. For a brief time in the late 1870s and early 1880s, there were few others who commanded similar prices and prestige or could count a greater number of the West’s prominent citizens as clients. To those who knew him, the “little Frenchman” was a marvel. As described by Jerome Hart, editor of The Argonaut: He could do anything with a brush—or without a brush, for he could paint with his spatulated thumb.
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William Wendt (1865-1947) – Nature Undefiled by Will South, Ph.D., California Art Club Newsletter, Winter 2008
In 1911, William Wendt was elected as president of the California Art Club, and, in many ways, he represented the essential nature of California Impressionism both stylistically and ideologically. No other California Impressionist so consistently essayed the sweeping, romantic grand landscape view as Wendt or painted them nearly so well, and no other painter so strongly equated his work with the ideology of Nature as Creation, and Nature as a spiritual path. Wendt was sincere and straightforward in his aesthetic pronouncements. Dapper, distinguished, and much admired by his followers in the Club, Wendt functioned as a visible example of what an artist should aspire to be. His ongoing career summarized the nineteenth century idealism that was the foundation of early twentieth-century painting in the Southland.
Anders Leonard Zorn (1860-1920) – Stealing Secrets and Beauty by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Fall 2013
Born as the illegitimate son of a Bavarian beer maker and a Swedish farm girl, never having met his father, and raised as a peasant boy on his grandparents’ farm, Anders Leonard Zorn managed to reach international prominence, financial success, and philanthropic heights.
Art Travel Log
On September 3 Peter and I left our borne in Pasadena for a six-week excursion through France and Italy. In an attempt to share our art adventures with our fellow California Art Club members, this article is written as the first of a three-pan series.
American Art History
In the Land of Casanova: American Artists Seduced by Venice (John Singer Sargent, James A. McNeill Whistler, Frank Duveneck, Robert Blum, William M. Chase, Thomas Moran, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Maurice Prendergast, John Henry Twachtman, Theodore Wores) by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, February 2003
Venice is located on the North-Eastern coast of Italy at the head of the Adriatic Sea and, geologically, is a conglomeration of 120 mud islands. Its cultural history began in 452. AD with its earliest settlements consisting of reed and wood but dwellings. Positioned in what may be considered the strategic heart of Europe, Venice developed into an important seaport. Traders became wealthy merchants who proclaimed their affluence by dotting the islands with an opulent array of grand palaces, magnificent cathedrals and a maze of impressive bridges.
The Golden Age of American Illustration remains one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of American art and culture. It was a period that saw the practice of illustration rise from humble beginnings to become a dominant and sophisticated art form that touched the lives of almost every American. The best artists of this movement—a long list that includes such illustrious names as Howard Pyle (1853–1911), Charles Dana Gibson (1866–1944), Maxfield Parrish (1870–1966), J.C. Leyendecker (1874–1951), N.C. Wyeth (1882–1945), Dean Cornwell (1892–1960), and Norman Rockwell (1894–1978)—gained national fame.
California Art History
How the San Gabriel Valley Inspired California Impressionism and Lured Artists from Across the Nation (Parts I, II, and III) by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2016
The development of an outstanding artist requires a process that can be compared to that of nurturing a delicate seedling to full maturity and potential. Cultivation, environment, and faithful caring all have an influence on the final result. Throughout history burgeoning artists have instinctively, and certainly out of financial consideration, opted to live in close communities with fellow artists. In such settings, artists create their own subcultures as they spend their days among like-minded friends who speak their language—a form of communication that is based on their specific brand of artistic discipline and philosophy.
California Art Club Looks to the Past for a Future Home – The Desiderio Army Base by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Summer 2007
Creative minds and social mavericks find inspiration in their environment and often migrate to warmer climates and picturesque locations to stimulate the mind and soothe the soul. During southern California’s early beginnings, Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco attracted visitors from around the nation and the world. By 1910, the area was settled by original thinkers—architects, writers, scientists, musicians, and more than 200 artists.
When I was asked to become the president of the California Art Club in 1992 I had no way of knowing that I would serve in that position for at least thirteen years, and that the Club would grow in membership and prestige to become one of the foremost organizations of its type in the country.
Plein Air Painting in Laguna Beach – An Enduring Landscape Legacy by Jean Stern and Molly Siple, American Artist Magazine, 2010
As early as 1886, artists began to flock to Laguna Beach. a small coastal community about 5o miles south of Los Angeles. The attraction, from the artists point of view, was the dear and intense light, as well as the sheer beauty of this small coastal village. The unique light, which masts all along the Southern California coast. is similar to that of Southern France and other Mediterranean locales. It offers artists large vistas and intense, pure colon. all bathed in the fluidity of natural sunlight It also allows access to other diverse landscapes nearby.
Pioneers of Artists’ Alley (Victor Clyde Forsythe, Frank Tenney Johnson, Jack Wilkinson Smith, Eli Harvey, Norman Rockwell) by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Summer 2007
At the start of the twentieth century, California attracted an eclectic array of creative and philosophical thinkers who were lured out west in search of the spirit of adventure that was California. Many of these individuals formed groups that became colonies of one sort or another. Although settlements devoted to social or spiritual causes have historically drawn considerable attention and scholarship, distinct arts groups also existed and are worthy of examination.
Sunshine, Trains and Hollywood Bring Artists to Southern California by Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, Summer 2011
El Pueblo de la Reina de los Ángeles, The Town of the Queen of the Angels, was founded by the Spanish colonists in 1781 and was the second pueblo created in the territory of Las Californias, just four years after the founding of Pueblo de San Jose in Santa Clara County. The original Los Angeles settlement consisted of eleven families, made up of eleven men, eleven women and twenty-two children who were of Mulatto, Criollo, and African descent. They were recruited from Mexico’s Sonora y Sinaloa Province to populate the 17,000-acre ranchland with the goal of securing the territory for the Spanish Empire.
Plein Air Painting – Where Did We Go Wrong? by Jean Stern, California Art Club Newsletter, Spring 2008
The early 1980s saw the institutionalization of California art painted from the 1890s to about the early 1930s. This period has come to be called the “California Impressionist” or sometimes the “California Plein Air” style. The overwhelming popularity of these paintings in the last two decades has led to the founding of numerous significant private collections, an outpouring of articles, catalogues and books, as well as a growing interest of museums and art historians to research and document this style.
Still Life painting in California – A Continuous Transformation By Elaine Adams, California Art Club Newsletter, February/March 2004
Still life, contrary to its name, is a form of artistic expression that constantly evolves. Objects change through time, as they vary in style and purpose or even become obsolete. Cultural tastes and interests also change including what is revered and enjoyed as part of nature’s bounties. One may consider still-lifes as societal statements locked in time. Still life paintings often show the natural world combined with that of the manmade—flowers in a vase, fruit in a bowl, food on a tray—symbols of human triumphs in domesticating nature and containing it for everyday use and enjoyment.
Bronze-Casting Process, Published by The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in Collaboration with Sculptor Christopher Slatoff
Creating a bronze sculpture is a complex process that can be achieved by a number of different methods. The “lost wax” method is most popular, and many of the sculptures in the Peter Marino Collection have been created in this way. A simplified step-by-step process is outlined below.