California art club

DEFINITION

Founded in 1906 by ten Los Angeles painters as the Painter's Club, its successor, the California Art Club became the most important art organization in Southern California. The Painter's Club had the commitment of meeting regularly, critiquing each other's work, and holding regular exhibitions. Membership was limited to males only. By 1909, the group had disbanded but quickly reorganized, not only with male painters, but with sculptors and females, and with the new name, California Art Club. William Wendt served as President for the first six years. Most of the early artist members painted landscapes in the Barbizon manner of rural subjects, rich colors, and interplay of sunlight and shadow. However, palettes lightened under influence of clear California atmosphere and generally sunny climate, and of artists returning from France where Impressionism and plein-air painting were major art movements. A "Los Angeles Times" reviewer, April 8, 1917, wrote of the 1917 California Art Club exhibition . . ."there was a time when artists thought they could paint without light and when air was hardly considered. That time seems prehistoric to us now, but it was really only a few years ago. Today the search for light and air is pursued with enthusiasm and we refuse to consider seriously the picture that is without them." During the Depression, membership lagged, but in 1993, Pasadena painter Peter Adams spearheaded a revival and served as CAC President. By the year 2000, there were several thousand members, including 45 signature members, 350 artist members, and 1300 patron members. Artist members include Mabel Alvarez, Clyde Forsythe, Samuel Hyde Harris, Kevin Macpherson, Franz Bischoff, Jessie Botke, Maurice Braun and Guy Rose. Sources: website of the California Art Club; Nancy Dustin Wall Moure, "California Art: 450 Years of Painting & Other Media"; AskART database.

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