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 Lucia Kleinhans Mathews  (1870 - 1955)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: landscape, portrait, and mural painting, craftsperson

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Ad Code: 3
Lucia Kleinhans Mathews
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of a Young Girl Seated in a Meadow
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in San Francisco, California on August 29, 1870, Lucia Mathews began drawing at an early age.  After one year at Mills College, she enrolled at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute where she studied with Arthur Mathews.  A romance blossomed and they were married in 1894.

The couple went on to become one of the most influential and important art forces in turn-of-the-century San Francisco.  They were the leaders of the California Decorative Style, which was the West Coast expression of the arts and crafts movement.

In 1899 she studied in Paris at Académie Carmen and was influenced by Whistler. After the fire of 1906, their workshop was at 1717 California Street where their tremendous output included murals, paintings, furniture, frames, candlesticks, and other hand-crafted and hand-painted objets d'art.  Her furniture was often decorated with floral motifs in an oriental design; whereas, her husband's was in the more classical Beaux Arts style.

After the fire, they started a magazine, Philopolis, which they both wrote and illustrated.  A resident of San Francisco until 1951, Mrs. Mathews then moved to her sister's home in Los Angeles where she remained until her death on July 14, 1955.

San Francisco Art Association, 1896-1906
Sketch Club (SF), 1890s-1906
Lewis-Clark Expo (Portland), 1905
Panama Pacific International Exposition, 1915 (silver medal)
San Francisco Museum of Art, 1935
Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939
Pasadena Center, 1974
Oakland Museum, 1972, 1985

Oakland Museum
Richmond (VA) Museum
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Art in California (R. L. Bernier, 1916); Painters & Sculptors in California: the Modern Era; American Art Annual 1919; Who's Who in California 1928; California Art Research, 20 volumes; Mathews by Harvey Jones; Calif. Design 1910; Los Angeles Times, 7-17-1955 (obituary).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lucia Mathews and her husband, Arthur, were two of the most prominent artists in Northern California in the early 20th century.  They were leaders in what became known as the California Decorative Style, the West Coast version of the Arts and Crafts Movement.  Their philosophy was that one's environment should be in total harmony and that people should surround themselves only with objects they consider beautiful.

In addition to murals, paintings, and graphics, they were muralists and built furniture and hand-made their picture frames.

Lucia was born Lucia Kleinhans in San Francisco and attended Mills College for one year before enrolling in the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art where her future husband was Director.  They married in 1894, and she then spent one summer studying in Paris with James McNeill Whistler.

In 1906, the Mathews started a magazine, Philopolis, which was devoted to the aesthetic rebuilding of San Francisco after the earthquake, and Lucia designed many of the decorative aspects of the publication.

Between 1906 and 1920, they operated The Furniture Shop where they made custom-designed furniture.  Lucia oversaw the color selections, painted pictures, and did carving, relief sculpture, and decorative screens.  She liked floral designs from native California plants and often incorporated Oriental motifs.  Both she and her husband made their own frames to enhance their paintings.

She was also a skilled gardener and was adviser to the designers of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

American Women Artists by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein

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Lucia Mathews is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
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