Sometimes overlooked, Asian-Californian artists have made significant contributions to the Golden State’s artistic heritage. Names of note include George Chann (1913-1995), who exhibited at every major Californian museum from the 1930s through the 1950s; Yun Gee ( 1906-1962) who formed an art school in San Francisco and went on to gain an international reputation; Hideo Benjamin Noda (1908-1939) and muralist and landscapist Takeo Terada (1908-1993) both students at the CSFA when Diego Rivera produced his mural there. Terada was the only Asian chosen to do a mural for Coit Tower in San Francisco. During the relocation of Japanese-American people during World War II, the work of many artists was lost forever. Abstract Expressionist painter Hisako Hibi (1907-1991) was one of many California Asian artists who painted while entered in Topaz, Utah. A strong artistic life existed at many of the camps, and works were even shipped out to exhibitions. Over the years, some Asian-Californian artists have earned international recognition, such as Dong Kingman (1911-2000), Sueo Serisawa (1910- ), Mine Okubo (1912-2001), and New York based Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1893-1953) who had trained at the Los Angeles School of Art.
Collectors of California Paintings
Today, interest in California paintings continues to rise. Abstract Expressionists Richard Diebenkorn and Sam Francis, along with Pop artist Edward Ruscha (1937- ) have each drawn auction prices well over $3,000,000, and works by Wayne Thiebaud, and David Hockney have sold for close to that. Auctions of early 20th-century pieces are delivering record prices. As Tim Andersen suggests in his article, ‘California Landscapes’ (California Art, 1989), one reason for this affinity for early works may be the loss of some of the pristine landscape due to development, and the fact that early pictures are reminders of what is so special about California. In the article ‘California Impressionism’, the Forbes Collector (April 2004) suggests another reason may be that as works by Easterners like Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase, and George Bellows have migrated from the market to museums, collectors’ eyes have turned westward. Recent notable sales of California Impressionist works at auction include: Guy Rose ‘Early Morning, Summertime’ $1.2 million, in 2001; William Wendt, ‘In the Valley’ $530,500 in 1998; Granville Redmond, ‘California Poppies’ $424,000 in 2000; John M. Gamble’s ‘Wild Lilac and Mist’ for $193,000 in 2000; and Selden Gile’s ‘Northwestern Pacific Railway Along Tiburon Hills’ for $156,875 in 2002. Rose, who studied in Paris, lived at Giverny, and was a disciple of Claude Monet, is considered the leading California Impressionist. Along with Rose, others in the top tier for collectors of California Impressionism are William Wendt, known for his rolling landscapes; Granville Redmond, the remarkable deaf and mute painter known for his vibrant wildflowers as well as his nocturnes; and Edgar Payne for his craggy Sierra Nevada mountainscapes and Southwest scenes with big skies and red-rock canyons; Maurice Braun for his Impressionist paintings of Southern California hills, the High Sierra's, and Southwest deserts. Other important names are Franz Bischoff, Joseph Kleitsch (1882-1931), Armin Hansen (1886-1957), Alson Clark (1876-1949), and Colin Campbell Cooper (1856-1937), and John Frost (1890-1937). California watercolorists of particular note include Henry Percy Gray (1869-1952) and Lorenzo Latimer (1857-1941).
Compiled by Teta Collins
Credit for the above information is given to: Nancy Dustin Wall Moure, author of California Art: 450 Years of Painting and Other Media; and to California Grandeur and Genre by the Palm Springs Desert Museum; to Tim Andersen, author of ‘California Landscapes’ from Art of California, 1989; The California Historical Society, publishers of ‘Splendide Californie, French Artists’ Impressions of the Golden State, 1786-1900’; ‘California Impressionism Finally Gets Some Respect’ from the Forbes Collector, (published by Forbes Magazine), April 2004; Michael Leonard ‘The Golden Age of Bay Area Painting’, Art of California magazine, Aug/Sept 1989; Linda Aldrich ‘Views From Asian California, 1920-1965’ from Art of California magazine, Sept 1992; Will Smith, author of ‘In and Out of California: The Participatory Nature of Early California Art’; and to Nancy Boas, author of The Society of Six.