State of the Art: California
There’s something inherently artistic about California. Just the name itself brings to mind images of sparkling blue coastlines, the dazzling city lights of Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the Hollywood sign—it’s a culture of easygoing beach dwellers, surfers, artists, writers, directors, actors and creators, and millions of tourists travel there each year to get a glimpse of that allure. And though the vibe differs dramatically from Socal to Norcal, the undertones of art stay firmly rooted throughout the Golden State. A Western frontier state, much of California’s culture— especially in the southern and central regions—also reflect a great deal of Mexican and Native American culture.
The Autry Museum of the American West is located in the city of Los Angeles, a metropolis of arts organizations, galleries, museums and events. The Autry holds exhibitions celebrating Western and Native art throughout the year, including one of the most noteworthy Western art events in the country, the annual Masters of the American West Art Exhibition & Sale. The 2019 exhibition and sale, opening February 9, showcases the paintings and sculptures of 64 premier contemporary Western artists, including California artists Z.S. Liang, Jeremy Lipking and Mian Situ. New to the show this year are painters G. Russell Case, Howard Post and Eric Bowman.
Showing a range of artwork from historic to contemporary, Maxwell Alexander Gallery, also in LA, has a formidable collection of Southwestern and landscape pieces. Modern artists represented at the gallery include Natalie Featherston, Logan Maxwell Hagege, Glenn Dean, Billy Schenck and many other prominent Western painters.
Located just north in Pasadena is American Legacy Fine Arts, another respected gallery exhibiting contemporary and traditional fine art, representing the talent of Bill Anton,
Tim Solliday and many others. Down in the southern part of the state is the Olaf Wieghorst Museum in El Cajon, celebrating the work and life of one of the great painters of the American West, known for his cowboy, Native American and equine artwork.
Auctions featuring historic Western art can be found throughout the state as well,
including Bonhams’ L.D. “Brink” Brinkman Collection on February 8 and the California and Western Paintings and Sculpture sale on April 16.
The annual Cattlemen’s Western Art Show & Sale, held in Paso Robles from March 29 to 31, brings together the works of 50 Western artists exhibiting painting and sculpture. Proceeds from the event sponsor agricultural activities for 4-H, the California FFA Association and Cal Poly students. This year’s featured artist is thirdgeneration Californian and highly collected artist Vicki Catapano.
Throughout the pages of this special section, collectors will also find information and artwork from California-based plein air painter Terry d. Chacon.
The Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. Photo by Danielle Klebanow.
The Casa del Prado in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Courtesy Sandiego.org.
The Olaf Wieghorst Museum in El Cajon honors the work of Olaf Wieghorst, who lived in the community for 44 years.