Meadows and Mountains celebrates the work of William F. Jackson, Sacramento's leading painter from 1880 to 1936 and the first director of the Crocker Art Museum
. This first solo exhibit of Jackson's work, opening November 6, 2009, brings together 20 of his painted landscapes, including views of Donner Lake, Lake Tahoe and California hillsides.
At the urging of his friend Margaret Crocker, Jackson became custodian of the newly founded E. B. Crocker Art Gallery in 1885, a position he faithfully fulfilled for 50 years. From 1886 to 1900, he was the head of the Sacramento School of Design, the art school conducted in the Museums ornate Victorian Ballroom. Modest and diffident about promoting himself and his works from his studio in a small city off the beaten track, Jackson was never appreciated to the full extent of his talent.
The timing of this exhibit coincides exactly with our show celebrating the Crocker family and their legacy, said Scott A. Shields, associate director and chief curator, Crocker Art Museum. The two exhibits combined present a complete look at the early history of the Crocker Art Museum.
Jackson started his career as a portrait painter and photographer but soon branched out into painting landscapes. These were influenced by those of his friend William Keith and evolved from the Hudson River School style, but with a more painterly French Barbizon approach. His early works are celebrations of mountain scenery in the Sierra Nevada and often depict subjects near his favorite retreat, Soda Springs and the North Fork of the American River. After the turn of the century, he expanded his repertoire to include impressionist-influenced evocations of California hillsides covered with brilliant spring wildflowers, especially poppies and lupine. His poppy paintings won him acclaim when they were exhibited in galleries across northern California. One San Francisco art critic praised him as having become an absolute master of that subject.
This exhibit was organized by Alfred C. Harrison, Jr., scholar and owner of the North Point Gallery in San Francisco.