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Franz Bischoff
Franz A. Bischoff (1864-1929), Peonies,
c. 1912, oil on canvas, 30 x 40"

Arthur Rider
Arthur G. Rider, The Spanish Boat,
c. 1921, oil on canvas, 34” x 41”,
collection of The Irvine Museum

Guy Rose
Guy Rose, Point Lobos,
c. 1918, Oil on canvas, 24" x 29",
collection of The Irvine Museum

All Things Bright and Beautiful: California Impressionist Paintings from the Irvine Museum
April 1, 2008 - June 29, 2008

The Museum will present an exhibition featuring 60 works of California Impressionist art, All Things Bright and Beautiful: California Impressionist Paintings from the Irvine Museum, from April 1-June 29, 2008.

The exhibition celebrates Impressionistic landscape painting through intricate depictions of the immaculate California countryside, pre-industrialization. The paintings are rich with beauty, historical significance and a deep reverence for nature. This collection of images from the “land of sunshine” in the early 19th century is meant to remind viewers of the importance of preserving their incomparable and beautiful environment, particularly during a time of ecological crisis.

The California Impressionist movement was initiated in the 1890s by a group of spiritually-aware artists who were greatly influenced by Transcendentalism. The Transcendentalist movement, which reaffirmed faith in nature, affected spheres of art, literature, religion, culture and philosophy during the 19th century. Transcendental artists painted en plain air, or out-of-doors, and infused their art with intense light and color, capturing the majestic landscapes of California. California Impressionism peaked in the 1920s and lasted well into the Great Depression. In the 1930s, American artists looked away from nature and began to look toward material objects and industrialized metropolitan centers for inspiration, greatly impacting the style and subjects of American art forever.

The All Things Bright and Beautiful: California Impressionist Paintings from The Irvine Museum exhibition, curated by William H. Gerdts, features paintings by artists such as Maurice Braun and William Wendt, who believed in the spiritual power of nature. Braun was linked to the Theosophical Society, a transcendental group who believed that every object, particularly those of or relating to nature, has a spiritual value, and should be celebrated, praised and preserved. The influence of this Society is evident in Braun’s expressions of nature’s moods. Wendt viewed himself as an interpreter of nature, which he believed was full of symbolism from God. His deeply spiritual appreciation for nature accounts for the absence of humans or animals in his paintings. The exhibition also features works by Guy Rose, one of the most renowned California Impressionists and the founder of the movement, which blends distinctly European and American styles of Impressionism together.


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