The Huntington: Expressionist Landscape Bit of Silvermine, Clivia and a Bronze Art Deco Lachaise Piece and a Passion Flower
The Huntington was founded by railroad and real estate magnate Henry Edwards Huntington in 1919. The museum and gardens opened to the public in 1928
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA has acquired three works by important 20th-century California painters as well as a significant American sculpture. Charles Reiffel’s intense 1916 expressionist landscape, Bit of Silvermine – The Old Farm House, Henrietta Shore’s lilting Clivia (1930), and Gaston Lachaise's elegant bronze Art Deco masterpiece, The Peacocks (1918), were acquired in recent months. Passion Flower (1945) by modernist painter and founding member of the Transcendental Painting Group, Agnes Pelton, has officially joined the collections. All four pieces currently are on view in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art.
"We've been looking to add paintings by Pelton and Shore to the collections for some time, and the resplendent Reiffel, on loan to us for the past few years, has generously been made a gift to us, said Kevin Salatino, Director of the Art Collections at The Huntington. "What a pleasure it is finally to have acquired stellar examples by each of these artists. As for Lachaise’s great The Peacocks, it beautifully complements The Huntington’s growing collection of important American sculpture from the 18th to the 20th century."
Agnes Pelton, American (1886–1961), Passion Flower, ca. 1945, oil on canvas, 24 × 16 in.
Pelton was born in Germany to American parents, spent her early career in New York studying with Arthur Wesley Dow (with whom Georgia O’Keeffe also studied), and moved to Cathedral City, Calif., in 1932. At the time, Cathedral City was an isolated desert enclave, allowing the artist the mystical serenity she craved for her work.
In 1938, Pelton became a founding member of the Transcendental Painting Group (based in Santa Fe, NM), which was formed to promote non-objective painting and was influenced by Theosophy, Zen Buddhism, and other forms of non-Western thought. From the 1920s on, Pelton's paintings became more and more visionary, and her technique, relying upon a complex layering of colors, developed an inner radiance that characterizes her finest work. About her, Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight has written "Pelton infused an organic light into the otherwise machine-influenced Art Deco styling of the 1920s and 1930s, creating easel paintings that are like modern talismans of spiritual wonderment."
Pelton was the subject of a traveling exhibition, Agnes Pelton, Poet of Nature, in 1995, and was one of four female artists featured in the 2009 Orange County Museum of Art exhibition Illumination: The Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Pelton, Agnes Martin, and Florence Miller Pierce.
Charles Reiffel (1862–1942), Bit of Silvermine – The Old Farm House, 1916, oil on canvas, 34 1/2 × 37 1/4 in.
A highlight of the early 20th-century paintings on view in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American art since their expansion in 2014, Bit of Silvermine – The Old Farm House is a gift of collectors Sandra and Bram Dijkstra, who previously donated Charles White's painting, Soldier (1944) and Robert S. Duncanson’s Landscape with Ruin (ca. 1853) to The Huntington. Bit of Silvermine, painted nearly a decade before Reiffel decamped from the east coast to settle permanently in San Diego, has been called the breakthrough painting of the artist’s career. Its brilliant palette, expressionist landscape (set in the artist’s colony of Silvermine, Conn.), and vigorous brushstroke, make it a work attuned to contemporary movements in Europe.
Well-known and highly regarded in his lifetime, Reiffel fell into obscurity after his death. The exhibition, Charles Reiffel: An American Post-Impressionist, held at the San Diego Museum of Art in 2013, helped to revive his reputation.
Bit of Silvermine joins a group of 20th-century American landscapes at The Huntington that include works by such iconic modernists as Edward Hopper, Arthur Dove, and Charles Sheeler.
Henrietta Shore (1880 – 1963), Clivia, ca. 1930, oil and pencil on canvas laid down on board, 26 × 26 in.
Another painter whose reputation suffered after her death, Shore also has experienced a surge of interest in recent years. In her lifetime she was frequently compared to Georgia O’Keeffe. But, unlike O'Keeffe, who made her career on the East Coast and was connected to the most influential "avant-garde tastemakers, the Canadian-born Shore moved to Los Angeles in 1913, and quickly became a member of its vanguard art circles, which included modern dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis. Shore eventually befriended the photographer Edward Weston, to whom she allegedly lent the nautilus shell that became the subject of one of his best-known photographs.
In 1930, Shore followed Weston to Carmel, Calif. "It was in Carmel that she painted some of her most seductive and modernist works, among them Clivia," said Salatino. "Its flame-colored blooms and sinuous leaves exude a vibrant sensuality through reductive form that defines many of her idiosyncratic images of the natural world. Clivia is an example of Shore at her best."
Pages: 1 · 2
- Airing My Dirty Laundry: I was a Nude Model
- Libbey Dolls, Fashioning the Story: "They are representative fashion figures, depicting French style from A.D. 493 to 1915"
- Reuniting the Masters: European Drawings from West Coast Collections, Bringing Together Works of Art Separated Over Centuries and Continents
- Hubert de Givenchy and Muse, Audrey Hepburn
- Printing a Child’s World at the Met Museum, The Summer of Hamilton at New York Historical Society and Roz Chast at Museum of the City of New York
- The Art of Adriana Varejão Surrounds a Rio Olympics Aquatics Stadium
- Inspiring Artists, Musicians, Novelists, Poets, and Filmmakers: Coney Island, Visions of an American Dreamland
- Turner's Whalers: "That is not a smear of purple ... but a beautiful whale ... whose tail has just slapped a half-dozen whale-boats into perdition"
- National Museum of the American Indian: Kay WalkingStick's Retrospective
- Artistic Interiors at the Met Museum: Satinwood and Purpleheart with Mother-of-Pearl Inlays, Depictions of Hand Mirrors, Scissors, Hair Combs, Brooches, Necklaces, and Earrings