Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Beach, CA



Resource Library articles and essays honoring the American experience through its art:

Rex Brandt: In Praise of Sunshine; essay by Janet Blake (7/9/14)

"In Love with Painting": The Life and Art of Clarence Hinkle; essay by Janet Blake (6/23/12)

Modern Spirit: The Group of Eight & Los Angeles Art of the 1920s; essay by Susan M. Anderson (6/23/12)

Clarence Hinkle / Modern Spirit and the Group of Eight (6/11/12)

A Chronology on the Life of William Wendt, By Janet Blake (11/28/08)

William Wendt: Plein Air Painter of California; essay by Will South (11/28/08)

In Nature's Temple: The Life and Art of William Wendt (11/28/08)


Heart and Torch: Rick Griffin's Transcendence (9/18/07)

Artists at Continent's End: The Monterey Peninsula Art Colony, 1875-1907 (8/29/06)

F. Scott Hess: The Seven Laughters of God and Other Paintings (4/28/06)

Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective (4/27/06)

In and Out of California: Travels of American Impressionists; essay by Deborah Epstein Solon (1/2/03)

In and Out of California: The Participatory Nature of Early California Art; essay by Will South (12/17/02)

Hung Liu: Strange Fruit (11/22/02)

In and Out of California: Travels of American Impressionists (11/21/02)

Afterglow in the Desert: The Art of Fernand Lungren (1/12/01)


Greetings from Laguna Beach: Our Town in the Early 1900s (7/25/00)

First Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational Competition (7/13/99)

Patssi Valdez: A Precarious Comfort (5/28/99)

After the Photo-Secession: American Pictorial Photography, 1910-1955 (5/12/99)

Paul Outerbridge Photograph Acquired by Laguna Art Museum (3/12/99)

What Made Laguna Beach Special, essay by Deborah Epstein Solon (11/16/98)

This Side of Eden: Images of Steinbeck's California (10/23/98)

Art Colonies and American Impressionists (9/1/98)


(above: Patrick Shearn: Skynet, Laguna Beach, CA Photo: Barbara Hazeltine 2020

An exhibit of the Laguna Art Museum, an independent, 80+ year-old nonprofit institution focusing on American art, with emphasis on the art of California.


A Brief History

Founded in 1918 by a small group of painters, who settled along the coast, the Laguna Beach Art Association developed an exhibition space to showcase works being produced by artists in the area. This early emphasis on supporting artists in the region has been an integral part of Laguna Art Museum, the oldest cultural institution in Orange County, throughout its history.

In 1920, the Laguna Beach Art Association was incorporated as a nonprofit organization with artist Edgar Payne as president. The Association soon outgrew the old Town Hall, where its first exhibition was held. After the completion of a successful fund-raising drive, a gallery on the present Museum site opened.

In 1948, a gift from the estate of artist Frank Cuprien served as the catalyst for a fundraising campaign to enlarge the gallery space. The new addition opened in 1951 with an exhibition organized by Mrs. William Daniell, a long-time leader in the arts. This selection of paintings by early Laguna Beach artists later became the Museum's permanent Memorial Collection. The Museum's Collection has since grown to include many exemplary works by California artists dating from the late 19th Century to the present.

The Museum still occupies the same location in Laguna Beach that has been its home since 1929. An expansion in the mid-1980s increased exhibition and support space. In keeping with the Museum's goal of collecting and exhibiting American art, with a particular focus on California arts, the name was formally changed to Laguna Art Museum in 1985.

In July of 1996, the Laguna Art Museum and the Newport Harbor Art Museum merged. In April of 1997, after lengthy negotiations between those who opposed the merger and those that promoted it, Laguna Art Museum officially became a stand-alone, non-profit institution. The Museum's exhibitions, catalogues, and educational activities since that time illustrate an ongoing examination of California art that includes looking at unconventional, but regionally important, influences such as film, car and surf cultures. Through collections, publications, and research on the art of California, Laguna Art Museum promotes an understanding of the role of California art and artists in the development of the visual arts nationally and internationally.

Laguna Art Museum is located in Laguna Beach at 307 Cliff Drive, at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway; ample metered and free street parking is available nearby. Please see the Museum's website for hours and admission fees.


(above: Laguna Dreaming. Photo: JP Hazeltine 2019)


Why was this sub-index page prepared?

When Resource Library publishes over time more than one article concerning an institution, there is created as an additional resource for readers a sub-index page containing links to each Resource Library article or essay concerning that institution, plus available information on its location and other descriptive information.

See TFAO's Museums Explained to learn about the "inner workings" of art museums and the functions of staff members. In the exhibitions section find out how to get the most out of a museum visit. See definitions for a glossary of museum-related words used in articles.

To help you plan visits to institutions exhibiting American art when traveling see Sources of Articles Indexed by State within the United States.

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