Mission San Juan Capistrano, Landmark, Chapel, Museum and Gardens

San Juan Capistrano, CA


(left: Mission Entrance; right: Soldiers Barracks, photos ©John Hazeltine 1999. Click on photos for enlargements.)



Go to California Mission Hosting Art Exhibitions in Spring 2004 (2/19/04), an exhibition by California artist Donald "Putt" Putnam. The paintings are representational scenes, many featuring images from the Old West. Putt Putnam is a former circus clown who later painted sceneries and backdrops for such well-known MGM films as "Mutiny on the Bounty," "The Brothers Grimm" and "The Four Horsemen." He has taught at the prestigious Los Angeles Art Center College of Design, and continues to teach young artists. His work is featured in galleries across the nation, and is part of the collections of many celebrities. Recently, he completed a 72-foot mural-over 1,000 square feet-on San Gabriel's busy West Santa Anita Avenue, on the side of the Mission Art Center store across the street from San Gabriel Mission. The mural depicts life in early California, with scenes of Native Americans, Franciscan padres and Spanish señoritas.

Go to Mabel Alvarez (1891-1985) (10/31/00). Alvarez was born in Hawaii and relocated to Los Angeles in 1906. In 1915, she enrolled in Los Angeles' leading art school, the School for Illustration and Painting, directed by William Vincent Cahill. She became a prolific painter in the 1920's and 30's, with her work being displayed in the most prominent art galleries in the United States.

Go to The Russian Tradition (10/7/00), an exhibition featuring the leading Russian artists of the Soviet period, October 10-November 17, 2000. Featured artists include Boris Beltyukov, Alekesei Gritsai, Popov Igor, Leonid Steele and Vladimir Stozharov.

Go to Marguerite Lyons: Every Day Wonders (3/21/00). an exhibition of watercolors by noted artist Marguerite Lyons. She has received numerous awards for her work, including being named Best in Watercolor at the Beverly Hills Affaire in the Gardens, Associate Show of American Academy of Women Artists and Central Coast Watercolor Society Membership Show.

Go to Mission San Juan Capistrano to Host Fourth Exhibition by Timothy J. Clark (1/26/00 - revised 2/6/00), an exhibition of watercolor and oil paintings of Mission San Juan Capistrano and other California missions by internationally acclaimed artist Timothy J. Clark. Also included in the 20-piece exhibition will be images from Granada, Spain, which Clark terms "the roots of Mission San Juan Capistrano." The artist has painted the Capistrano Mission for over 20 years, and is also known for his portraits, interior studies and landscapes of romantic scenes from locations throughout the world. A Capistrano Beach resident, he is widely known for his PBS-TV series Focus on Watercolor (he is the author of a companion book by the same name) and for more than a decade has taught painting seminars. Clark returns to the Mission for his fourth show; in 1996, his exhibition of 34 paintings sold out, actually resulting in the sale of 36 paintings as visitors requested he paint additional works. (left: Timothy J. Clark, San Juan Capistrano, Serra Chapel, oil)

Go to Mission Welcomes Artist Nicolay Paskevich; Launches Art for Preservation Gallery (1/8/00), an exhibition of watercolor art by Nicolay Paskevich. He frequently paints objects that are in motion-horseback riders, pianists, jazz musicians, orchestra conductors and ballet dancers. Paskevich, 92, was born in Riga, Latvia in 1907. At age 10, his father died and he went to work as a shepherd to help support the family. At this time, he developed a love for drawing. Since there was a shortage of paper, he drew on birch bark. Trees were his favorite subject; he especially loved to draw pine roots that jutted out of the ground. He studied in a variety of art schools in the newly formed Soviet Union, but was required to paint in the prevailing styles of the day or risk imprisonment in a concentration camp. Privately, however, he studied realism, which helped him develop his own unique style. In 1933, he met his wife, Galina Alfonsovna Dokalskaya, also an artist. He achieved success and fame in his work in the Soviet Union, eventually earning the nation's highest award for artists, the Red Banner Badge (an unheard of honor for a non-Communist). Paskevich was even welcomed to the Kremlin to dine with Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

Go to Fiesta Suite: The Art of Theodore N. Lukits (1897-1992) (12/1/99) a world-class exhibition of the best paintings of famous colorist Theodore Lukits (1897-1992). It features many large, colorful portraits of Mexican dancers, vaqueros and other lively subjects painted in the 1930's. Lukits was born in Temesvar, Transylvania, and emigrated to the United States with his family at age two. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and later studied at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago. To support his education, Lukits worked as a jewelry designer and illustrator for such famous publications as the Saturday Evening Post. (left: Theodore N. Lukits, Contemplation, pastel, 16 1/2 x 22 inches, Lukits Art Trust)

Go to Sergei Bongart (1918-1985) at Mission San Juan Capistrano (9/2/99),an exhibition of the work of Russian-American artist Sergei Bongart, who was born in the Ukraine, and studied art in his native city of Kiev, famed for its ancient icons. He also studied and painted in Prague, Vienna and Munich. In 1948, he emigrated to the U. S. and spent much time painting in California. Bongart has been described as "an ardent spirit, a poet, now sensual, now spiritual, who makes joyful proclamations in paint of his love of life and the world in which we live, or sorrowful eulogies upon its tragedies." His work is featured in prominent museums, and has received many awards, including a Gold Medal from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Go to Mission San Juan Capistrano Hosts Art Competition; Joan Irvine Smith Fine Arts to Award $10,000 in Cash Prizes (6/3/99). Mission San Juan Capistrano, Joan Irvine Smith Fine Arts, Inc. and the California Art Club co-sponsoried the fifth annual Outdoor Professional Painting Competition of professional artists who will paint impressionist works on-site at Mission San Juan Capistrano the week of August 16-22, 1999. A panel of distinguished judges will select the best paintings and award the artists cash prizes totaling $10,000.

Go to Mission San Juan Capistrano Competition, a The Plein Air Scene article by Aleta Carpenter who says:" The Sixth Annual Competition, held August 14-20, 2000, was sponsored by the California Art Club, the Mission, and Joan Irvine Smith Fine Arts Inc. After painting for a five-day period, competitors selected two of their best paintings to be judged by Steven Doherty, Editor in Chief of American Artist Magazine, Scott Atkinson, Curator of American Arts at the San Diego Museum of Art, and Deborah Solon, Art Historian, who recently curated an exhibit at the Laguna Art Museum on the art colonies of Laguna Beach and Connecticut." 

Go to Mission San Juan Capistrano to Present Art of Alice Nathan and Augustus Dunbier in Upcoming Exhibitions (4/8/99), revised (6/8/99), presenting exhibitions by artists Alice Nathan, and Augustus W. Dunbier. The Dunbier exhibition features California landscape canvasses painted in pre-war years. Alice Nathan was reared on a working cattle ranch in the Sierra Mountains of California. Many of her paintings are of American cowboys of the past and present. Augustus Dunbier (1888-1977) was a prolific oil painter, known for his colorful landscapes, still life, portraits and figures. Born in Nebraska, much of Dunbier's work featured Midwestern landscapes in the impressionist style, although he painted throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe. (left: Augustus Dunbier, Self Portrait, 34 x 26 inches)

Go to A Harvest of Devotions: The Farming Heritage Paintings of Aaron F. St. John (3/19/99). Mission San Juan Capistrano presents A Harvest of Devotions: The Farming Heritage Paintings of Aaron F. St. John. He is an Artist Member and Chairman of the San Diego Regional Chapter of the California Art Club, and has participated annually in the CAC's California Art Club Outdoor Painting Festival sponsored at the Mission by Joan Irvine Smith Fine Arts Inc.. One of his festival paintings entered Mrs. Smith's private collection, and the show will also feature a few paintings of the Mission itself.

Go to Timothy J. Clark: California Missions (2/12/99), an exhibition of watercolor and oil paintings of the California missions, from Sonoma to San Diego, by internationally acclaimed artist Timothy J. Clark. The exhibition was inspired in part by the architecture of Granada, Spain -- from locations suggested to Clark by officials of the Spanish Government -- which Clark terms "the roots of Mission San Juan Capistrano." Clark has devoted the last three years of his life to traveling through California and Spain to paint the 35-piece exhibition. The artist has painted the Capistrano Mission for over 20 years. He returns to the Mission for his third show.

Go to 4th Annual Mission Outdoor Painting Festival (1998). Mission San Juan Capistrano presents a plein air event held on the Mission grounds. California Art Club President Peter Adams stated, "This competition is a significant event. It not only expresses our deep-felt reverence for Califomia's unique heritage, but also allows our artists the opportunity to paint together in comradeship among magnificent surroundings."

Go to John Stobart; essay by Jim Graves (9/16/97). Mission San Juan Capistrano presents A Developing Nation: Ports & Harbors Coast to Coast, the Art of John Stobart. Inspired by tradition, John Stobart serves as our historian and guide to life along the water. To the viewer, it seems as though Stobart stood a century ago along the ports and harbors he recreates for us. We can almost feel the effects of the weather and time of day and we learn about our history and our heritage through wonderfully descriptive narratives that have been compared to stories by Mark Twain and Joseph Conrad.

Go to Tom K. Enman: Southern California Impressionist, article by John Hazeltine (5/97). Mission San Juan Capistrano presents Tom K. Enman: Southern California Impressionist. Tom was born in Salt Lake City in 1928. In 1952 he was awarded certification by the prestigious Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He has had numerous gallery and museum shows over his distinguished career including exhibitions at the Huntington Library, Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Redfern Gallery, and many more. He served as director of the Artists Guild in Laguna Beach in 1964-65, and became founding director of the Laguna Beach Museum of Art in 1965, serving through 1980.

Go to Karl Dempwolf (1997). Mission San Juan Capistrano presents an exhibition of California coastal and landscapes by German impressionist artist Karl Dempwolf, member of the California Art Club, whose work has won awards from such prestigious organizations as the National Park Academy of the Arts, the Oil Painters of America, Art of California agazine and the 11th Annual Assembly of the Arts, sponsored by the Ventura County Museum of History and Art. Dempwolf's work can be found in prominent fine arts galleries throughout the state.


Mission San Juan Capistrano's influence in California art history:

Go to Resource Library's 1997 essay by Gerald J. Miller, Mission San Juan Capistrano: An Artistic Legacy, which provides details about early California Impressionist painters' involvement with the Mission. It also lists paintings by historic artists in the Mission's collection as of the date of the essay's publication. Also see from Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO)'s catalog Topics in American Art the topic California Art History, with more articles and essays citing California Missions.


Fine art exhibits program at the Mission

In 1995 a fine art exhibition program was initiated at the Mission. John Hazeltine's article Tom K. Enman: Southern California Impressionist explains why and how the exhibits began. Exhibits were initially held in West Wing gallery rooms alongside the central courtyard opposite Serra Chapel. In the Fall of 1999, the Mission began presenting exhibits in the historic Soldiers Barracks -- also one of the Mission's oldest buildings -- built in 1791. As of January, 2014 an exhibit of replicas of historic paintings of Mission San Juan Capistrano is on display in the Soldiers Barracks. The original paintings from which the replicas were made are from the collection of the Irvine Museum. (left: Side Entrance to Soldiers Barracks Gallery, 1999, photo © John Hazeltine. Click on photo for enlargement.)

To reach Mission San Juan Capistrano, take Interstate 5 to the Ortega Highway exit to San Juan Capistrano. Mission address: 31522 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693 (Ortega at Camino Capistrano).

Orange County, California is blessed with three museums dedicated to California art. The Hilbert Museum of California Art, in the City of Orange, and Mission San Juan Capistrano, Landmark, Chapel, Museum and Gardens, in the City of San Juan Capistrano, are connected by a 35 minute train ride between Metrolink stations. Both museums are within a one block walking distance from their respective stations. By auto, they are 1/2 hour apart. The UCI Institute and Museum of California Art, in the City of Irvine, is available by auto 15 minutes from the Hilbert Museum and 20 minutes from Mission San Juan Capistrano.

For hours and admission fees please see the Mission's website.


Above: William Henry von Herwig, Old Mission

1924, oil on burlap, 34 x 30 inches. Private Collection.

Baptismal font is shown temporarily relocated from present location while conservation underway in Serra Chapel. 


Above: Hyatt Moore, Mission Shadows, Mission San Juan Capistrano),

 c.1999-2000, oil on canvas, 24 x 24 imches. Private Collection.

This view is of the south wing of the Mission. It was shown at an art exhibit held in the Mission's soldiers barracks.


TFAO also suggests from Chapman University's Huell Howser Archive, free for public viewing:





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.

Unless otherwise noted, all text and image materials relating to the above institutional source were provided by that source. Before reproducing or transmitting text or images please read Resource Library's user agreement.

Traditional Fine Arts Organization's catalogues provide many more useful resources:

American Representational Art links to dozens of topics in American Representational Art

Audio Online a catalogue of online streaming audio recordings

Collections of Historic American Art notable private collections

Distinguished Artists a national registry of historic artists

Geographic Tour of American Representational Art History a catalogue of articles and essays that describe the evolution of American art from the inception of the United States to WWII.

Illustrated Audio Online streaming online narrated slide shows

Articles and Essays Online substantive texts published outside of Resource Library

Videos Online a comprehensive catalogue of online full motion videos streamed free to viewers

Videos an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format

Books general reference books published on paper

Interactive media media in CD-ROM format

Magazines paper-published magazines and journals


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Resource Library is a free online publication of nonprofit Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO). Since 1997, Resource Library and its predecessor Resource Library Magazine have cumulatively published online 1,300+ articles and essays written by hundreds of identified authors, thousands of other texts not attributable to named authors, plus 24,000+ images, all providing educational and informational content related to American representational art. Texts and related images are provided almost exclusively by nonprofit art museum, gallery and art center sources.

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