A grow­ing in­ter­est in early Cal­i­for­nia led Chuck Mauch to Sa­muel Hyde Har­ris, who opened a com­mer­cial stu­dio in 1914 and be­came a sought-after de­signer of ad­ver­tis­ing posters for Western rail­way com­pa­nies. Har­ris was also a se­ri­ous easel painter who pro­duced up­wards of 3,000 oil paint­ings be­fore his death in 1977. • Highly col­lected now, Har­ris might not have se­cured his rep­u­ta­tion were it not for the ex­tra­or­di­nary con­ser­va­tion ef­forts of Mau­rine St. Gau­dens. Fol­low­ing the death of Har­ris’s widow Mar­ion Dodge, the state of Cal­i­for­nia ap­pointed St. Gau­dens as the ap­praiser and then ad­min­is­tra­tor of the es­tate. More than 900 orig­i­nal oil paint­ings were en­trusted to Mau­rine; many were dis­cov­ered in out­door sheds, nearly wrecked with mildew. Im­por­tant com­mer­cial work had been stashed un­der a chicken coop and was caked in waste. “If Har­ris hadn’t been pro­fes­sion­ally trained, an artist who used gesso and var­nish and the cor­rect me­dia to pre­vent flak­ing, his paint­ings never would have sur­vived the mess,” Mau­rine says. In 2007, she cu­rated the ex­hibit “Who Was Sam? The Art of Sam Hyde Har­ris (1889– 1977)” at the Pasadena Mu­seum of His­tory. ing posters for the South­ern Pa­cific and Santa Fe rail­road lines hang on walls, win­dows, and ceil­ing—is a trib­ute to the com­mer­cial work.

Filled to the brim and quirky, Chuck’s house tells sto­ries. Rooms man­i­fest his love of Cal­i­for­nia and the Arts & Crafts move­ment; his knowl­edge is deep and his ap­pre­ci­a­tion wide. Ask him about his phi­los­o­phy on col­lect­ing, and he’ll light up with en­thu­si­asm: “Get as much as you can!”

TOP: Among his col­lec­tion of Sam Hyde Har­ris art, Chuck Mauch’s fa­vorites are train- re­lated com­mer­cial color lith­o­graphs, most dat­ing to the 1920s and ’ 30s. The Train Room showcases ad­ver­tis­ing work Har­ris did for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe...

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