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Clarence Hinkle / Modern Spirit and the Group of Eight
June 10 - October 7, 2012
Laguna Art Museum is presenting a retrospective on artist Clarence Hinkle (1880-1960) in Clarence Hinkle, on display June 10 through October 7, 2012. On display concurrently as a complementary exhibition is Modern Spirit and the Group of Eight. Hinkle was a member of the Group of Eight. (right: Clarence Hinkle, Laguna Beach, 1929, Oil on canvas 30 x 36 inches. Laguna Art Museum Collection Gift of Mabel Hinkle)
Curated by Janet Blake, Curator of Collections at the Laguna Art Museum, Clarence Hinkle features over one hundred paintings dating from the early 1900s through the 1950s. A full-color, hardcover book accompanies both the Hinkle exhibition and the complementary exhibition Modern Spirit and the Group of Eight.
Clarence Hinkle was an early twentieth-century artist who radiated the spirit of modernism. Born in Auburn, California in 1880, Hinkle was one of only a few native Californians of his generation who became nationally known artists. His education was broad and far-reaching, beginning with studies at the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento and the California School of Design in San Francisco. He continued his studies in the East at the Art Students League then at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. There he was the recipient of the Cresson traveling scholarship, which afforded him the opportunity to travel and study in Europe. He spent six years abroad, living for a few years in Holland and visiting France, England, Spain, and Italy.
Hinkle returned to the United States in 1912, spending some time in New York City before returning to San Francisco. In 1917 he moved to Los Angeles where he began his teaching career at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design. In 1921 he began teaching at the newly-founded Chouinard School of Art, and the following year he moved to Laguna Beach, where he became an active member of the Laguna Beach Art Association. Hinkle and his wife, Mabel, who had been one of his students, traveled extensively and spent over a year in Europe in 1930 and 1931. In 1935, they moved to Santa Barbara. There they built a home on a large plot of land high on a ridge in Montecito with a wonderful view of the Santa Barbara harbor and Channel Islands in the distance.
Hinkle was an artist in love with the act of painting, seeing every thing with an analytical eye as to how best to interpret the subject in paint. This is evident in the different approaches he took with each subject, whether landscape, portrait, or still life. From his student years up until about 1924 he worked in a style rooted in American impressionism. But in the 1920s he developed a more abstract, gestural style with an emphasis on line that shows the influence of expressionism. Seen close-to, many of his small panel paintings from this period appear as pure abstraction, but when viewed with some distance the dashes and dabs of pigment coalesce into a recognizable image. In the years after his move to Santa Barbara, Hinkle abandoned his abstract, linear style in favor of a more literal interpretation of the landscape. Yet these works too show him applying paint with expressive and energetic strokes. Hinkle painted still lifes, portraits, and figural works that also reflect his growth as an artist from impressionist to modernist. As a member of the California Water Color Society, he painted watercolors, most of them quickly rendered with areas left bare of pigment, allowing the white paper to form part of the composition. (left: Clarence Hinkle, In the Hammock, 1929, Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches. Payton Family Collection)
Hinkle was a highly-regarded teacher and mentor for the next generation of artists. His first retrospective in 1955 was curated by one of his best pupils, Phil Dike. Millard Sheets was also one of his students, and both Dike and Sheets wrote tributes to the artist for that exhibition. After his death in 1960, memorial exhibitions were shown in Santa Barbara and Laguna Beach.
Modern Spirit and the Group of Eight provides a fresh perspective on the art and culture of the 1920s in Los Angeles. The Group of Eight -- Mabel Alvarez, Clarence Hinkle, Henri De Kruif, John Hubbard Rich, Donna Schuster, E. Roscoe Shrader, Edouard Vysekal, and Luvena Buchanan Vysekal -- exhibited several times throughout the 1920s, when modernist realism was the dominant trend across American art. Rather than focusing on plein-air landscape painting, like many artists in Los Angeles during the 1920s, the Group of Eight painted figural works, still lifes, and genre scenes in the studio. They wanted to have every means at their disposal to communicate the modern spirit.
This exhibition of some 25 paintings by the Group of Eight looks at the vibrant and pivotal decade that was the first "golden age" for Los Angeles art. It was a time of intense experimentation and interaction between various artistic and intellectual groups. There was a general sense of fascination for the new and freedom from constraints. It was a time when artists in Los Angeles were self-consciously aware of themselves as forging a dynamic art community and a new art, not for any gain but just for the sheer joy of the adventure. The Group of Eight was pivotal to the development of this modernist community in Los Angeles.
Modern Spirit and the Group of Eight includes many paintings that were in the original exhibitions of the Group of Eight, especially their 1927 show at the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art. Guest Curator Susan M. Anderson's essay for the book that accompanies both Modern Spirit and the Clarence Hinkle exhibitions focuses on cultural themes pertinent to the era, including attitudes towards health and beauty; the New Woman of the 1920s; regional bohemianism; and the impact of Hollywood.
"In Love with Painting: The Life and Art of Clarence Hinkle" Lecture and exhibition walk-through with Clarence Hinkle curator Janet Blake Thursday, July 26, 7:00 p.m. Admission is free for members and for non-members with museum admission
"This Side of Paradise: The Group of Eight and Los Angeles Art During the Age of the Flapper" Lecture with art historian Susan M. Anderson Thursday, August 23, 7:00 p.m. Admission is free for members and for non-members with museum admission
Written by Janet Blake and Susan M. Anderson, and published by Laguna Art Museum, Clarence Hinkle is a 176-page, full color, hard cover book with a dust jacket that accompanies the museum's summer 2012 exhibitions Clarence Hinkle and Modern Spirit and the Group of Eight. The book includes two main essays: "'In Love With Painting': The Life and Art of Clarence Hinkle" by Blake, and "Modern Spirit: The Group of Eight and Los Angeles Art of the 1920s" by Anderson; eight biographies on the Group of Eight artists; an exhibition history and chronology for Clarence Hinkle; a bibliography; and an index. The book is available in the museum store and online through the museum's website.
"In Love with Painting": The Life and Art of Clarence Hinkle; essay by Janet Blake, please click here.
Modern Spirit: The Group of Eight & Los Angeles Art of the 1920s; essay by Susan M. Anderson, please click here.
Wall text panels from the exhibitions, please click here.
Additional images of paintings from the exhibitions, please click here.
Resource Library readers may also enjoy
First Generation: Art in Claremont, 1907-1957 (3/18/08) which includes a biogaphy of Clarence Hinkle
Readers might confuse The Group of Eight covered in the above article with "The Eight," a famous group of eight East coast painters. The artists were Arthur Bowen Davies, Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, Robert Henri, John Sloan, and George Luks, all known for scenes of urban realism. "The Eight" are considered by some critics as among the earliest modernists in America.
Resource Library features these essays concerning Southern California art:
The American Scene: Regionalist Painters of California 1930-1960: Selections from the Michael Johnson Collection by Susan M. Anderson
Dream and Perspective: American Scene Painting in Southern California by Susan M. Anderson
Modern Spirit: The Group of Eight & Los Angeles Art of the 1920s by Susan M. Anderson
A Seed of Modernism: The Art Students League of Los Angeles, 1906-53 by Julia Armstrong-Totten, Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick, and Will South
The Arts in Santa Barbara by Janet Blake Dominik
Ranchos: The Oak Group Paints the Santa Barbara Countryside by Ellen Easton
Speculative Terrain - Recent Views of the Southern California Landscape from San Diego to Santa Barbara by Gordon L. Fuglie
Sampler Tour of Art Tiles from Catalina Island by John Hazeltine
Mission San Juan Capistrano: An Artistic Legacy by Gerald J. Miller
Loners, Mavericks & Dreamers: Art in Los Angeles Before 1900 by Nancy Moure
Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and the Eucalyptus School in Southern California by Nancy Moure
San Diego Beginnings by Martin E. Petersen
Keeping the Faith: Painting in Santa Catalina 1935-1985 by Roy C. Rose
The Art Student League of Los Angeles: A Brief History by Will South
Artists in Santa Catalina Island Before 1945 by Jean Stern
The Development of Southern California Impressionism by Jean Stern
The Legacy of the Art Students League: Defining This Unique Art Center in Pre-War Los Angeles by Julia Armstrong-Totten
The Development of an Art Community in the Los Angeles Area by Ruth Westphal
A Bit of Paris in Heart Mountain by Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick
A Seed of Modernism: The Art Students League of Los Angeles, 1906-53 by Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick and Julia Armstrong-Totten
The Historic Landscapes of Malibu by Michael Zakian
and these articles:
California Impressionists at Laguna is a 2000 exhibit at the Florence Griswold Museum organized by Florence Griswold Museum curator Jack Becker, the exhibition consists of twenty-six paintings by over a dozen California artists and selected works by members of the Lyme Art Colony, providing opportunity to compare and contrast the styles and subjects of the Lyme and Laguna Impressionists. The exhibition examines how the colonies contributed to the very identity of their regions; in the case of Laguna as a new Eden of perpetual sunshine, and for Lyme as a place rooted in traditional New England values. (left: William Wendt (1865-1946), South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 1918, oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Stiles II)
Circles of Influence: Impressionism to Modernism in Southern California Art 1910-1930 is a 2000 exhibit at the Orange County Museum of Art which thematically explores Southern California's early twentieth-century artistic development -- from the expanding influences of East Coast artists, to the building of local art organizations striving for independent expression, and finally the early stirrings of avant-garde Modernism. Presenting over seventy paintings, drawn from public and private collections, the exhibition will focus attention on the progressive artists of Los Angeles and their response to national and international art movements.
Clarence Hinkle: Modern Spirit and the Group of Eight is a 2012 exhibition at the Laguna Art Museum which features over one hundred paintings dating from the early 1900s through the 1950s, and includes many paintings that were in the original exhibitions of the Group of Eight, especially their 1927 show at the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art.
The Fieldstone Collection: Impressionism in Southern California, a 1999 exhibit at the the William D. Cannon Art Gallery, includes approximately 40 works, created between the late 1800s and early 1900s, depict the natural landscapes of the region in the "plein air" style of the French Impressionists.
The Final Eden: Early Images of the Santa Barbara Region is a 2002 Wildling Art Museum exhibit of paintings, watercolors and prints depicting the Central Coast of California between 1836 and 1960 and celebrating "its rural pristine and fertile nature," selected by guest curator, Frank Goss. It is his thesis that the paradise that once was California, a land of boundless resources and unlimited opportunities, has shrunk through urbanization and exploitation, and the Central Coast, not yet paved over, is "the Final Eden." (left: John Hall Esq. (1808 - ?), "Santa Barbara-Upper California," 1836, hand-colored lithograph.. Lent by Eric Hvolboi
First Generation: Art in Claremont, 1907-1957 is a 2008 exhibit at the Claremont Museum of Art, which traces the art history of Claremont and the region in the first 50 years after the city's incorporation in 1907.
On a clear day a century ago, one could see the peak of Mt. Baldy from virtually every corner of the Los Angeles basin, from ocean to desert. The original inhabitants of this area, the Tongva/Gabrielino Indians, called the mountain "Yoát," or snow. Its siren song has drawn generations of settlers to its shadow. Since the late 19th century, prominent artists have been among those attracted to the foothills of Mt. Baldy and its neighboring peaks-and the city of Claremont, in particular.The exhibit traces the art history of the region, from the work of such artists as Hannah Tempest Jenkins, Emil Kosa, Jr., and William Manker to that of Millard Sheets and his circle in the 1930s. Sheets's influence as artist and teacher extended as well to bringing artists such as Henry Lee McFee, Phil Dike, and Jean Ames to Scripps College, thereby enhancing the existing art community and assuring its lasting influence.
Greetings from Laguna Beach: Our Town in the Early 1900s is a 2000 Laguna Art Museum exhibit which illustrates Laguna's early history through 20 landscapes painted by some of the town's earliest artist residents as well as historical photos and a room-sized installation of a typical period cottage. The paintings include works by Franz A. Bischoff, Conway Griffith , Clarence Kaiser Hinkle, Joseph Kleitsch Millard Sheets, William Wendt, and Karl Yens.
L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy is a 2012 exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The figurative artists, who dominated the postwar Los Angeles art scene until the late 1950s, have largely been written out of today's art history. This exhibition, part of the Getty Foundations initiative "Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980," traces the distinctive aesthetic of figurative expressionism from the end of World War II, bringing together over 120 works by forty-one artists in a variety of media -- painting, sculpture, photography, and performance
The Legacy of the California Art Club in San Diego chronicles the history of art in San Diego, California from the turn of the 20th century through the beginning of the present century.
Painted Light: California Impressionist Paintings from the Gardena High School Los Angeles Unified School District Collection, hosted by CSU Dominguez Hills in 1999, features works by Franz A. Bischoff, Jessie Arms Botke (1883-1971), Maurice Braun (1877-1941), Benjamin Chambers Brown, Alson Skinner Clark, Leland S. Curtis, Maynard Dixon, Victor Clyde Forsythe, John (Jack) Frost, Joe Duncan Gleason, Armin Carl Hansen, Sam Hyde Harris, Clarence Kaiser Hinkle, Frank Tenney Johnson, Emil Jean Kosa, Jr., Jean Mannheim, Peter Nielsen, Edgar Alwin Payne, Hanson Duvall Puthuff, John Hubbard Rich, Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius, Walter Elmer Schofield, Clyde Eugene Scott, Jack Wilkinson Smith, James Guifford Swinnerton, Marion Kavanagh Wachtel, William Wendt (1865-1946) and Orrin Augustine White.
Painted Light: California Impressionist Paintings: The Gardena High School/Los Angeles Unified School District Collection toured to The Irvbine Museum in 1999.
Representing LA, Pictorial Currents in Contemporary Southern California Art, featured at the Frye Museum in 2000, is the first group exhibition to explore the rich and varied representational painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture produced by Southern California artists from 1990 to 2000, and fills a gap in West Coast and Southern California art history by surveying and interpreting about 80 works by 70 artists working in representational or realist styles and approaches.
For further biographical information on artists mentioned in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Laguna Art Museum in Resource Library.
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