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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Century of Landscapes

A Century of Landscapes: Selections from the California Art Club

At the dawn of the twentieth century, California became home to a legion of artists who came to paint the state’s awe-inspiring natural landscapes “en plein air,” an Impressionistic style in which painters worked outdoors in order to capture the ephemeral moment of natural lighting across a landscape. The California Art Club was established in 1909, by artists, patrons, and visionaries for the sole purpose of capturing the beauty of California’s landscapes in their paintings. The California Art Club is recognized as one of the oldest, largest and most active leading professional art organizations in the world. A unique aspect of the organization is that it includes among its members nationally renowned artists, art students, hobbyists, art scholars and art enthusiasts, in order to interject different perspectives into the dialogue about traditional art.

The California Art Club is marking its historic 100th anniversary by paying tribute to a century of landscape paintings with a series of art exhibitions to be held at museums and historic sites throughout California, including the California Historical Society’s San Francisco gallery.The California Art Club’s centennial exhibition, A Century of Landscapes: Selections from the California Art Club is on view July 14 through October 15,  2011. Join us for the opening reception on July 14 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

The California Historical Society is the only Bay Area venue for this exhibition celebrating the one hundred year legacy of the California Art Club. The juried exhibition of works from current members will be supplemented by pieces of art and other materials from the rich collections of the California Historical Society.

Among the artworks made by California Art Club members and held in the California Historical Society’s Collection is Norman Stiles Chamberlain’s 1923 painting San Juan Capistranowhich is one of the most famous missions of CaliforniaGeorge Demont Otis’ view of Chinese Shrimp Camp, Hunter’s Point, ca. 1920s documents early shoreline industry and a way of life and serves as counterpoint to the vibrancy of Esther Anna Hunt’s ChineseTemple Scene, San Francisco, 1915.

The California Historical Society collection also holds multiple works by one of the California Art Club’s earliest members, Charles Albert Rogers. The painting, Fernside, Alameda, California, was painted in 1905 and shows a rural landscape before the influx of 1906 earthquake survivors from across the Bay. Beyond the shadows to the right is a sliver of the Oakland estuary, and further in the distance behind the trees are the Oakland Hills. In stark contrast, his paintings, San Francisco―City Hall, 1906, shows the aftermath of the devastation and After the Fire, 1906, a finished study of steps and concrete walls at the base of a destroyed Nob Hill house.

View these and other fascinating works in A Century of Landscapes: Selections from the California Art Club
 on view at the California Historical Society through October 15, 2011. For more information about this exhibition visit For more information about statewide California Art Club centennial exhibition sites, visit

Images above:

George Demont Otis (American, 1879-1962), Chinese Shrimp Camp, Hunter’s Point, ca. 1920s, Oil on canvas, gift of Kathleen Tamony; Estate of Peter Tamony, California Historical Society, 87-3-1

Charles Albert Rogers (American 1848-1918), After the Fire, 1906, Oil on canvas, Gift of Genelle Relfe, California Historical Society, 94-3-5

Norman Stiles Chamberlain (American, 1887-1961), San Juan Capistrano, 1923, Oil on canvas, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Earl Bubar, California Historical Society, 83-9-1

Charles Albert Rogers (American 1848-1918), Fernside, Alameda, California, 1905, Oil on canvas, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Desky, California Historical Society, 81-19-1

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