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Santa Ana Museum displays museum's most cherished California paintings
Artist Unknown, Portrait of Don Bernardo Yorba, c.1840.

SANTA ANA, CA.- Bowers Museum in Santa Ana has announced the presentation of California Bounty: Image and Identity, 1850 – 1930, a momentous exhibition that features a rambling journey through California’s visual history depicted by many of the state’s most prominent artists.

The exhibition is exclusively on display at the Bowers Museum beginning June 11, 2016 and is continuing indefinitely. Guest curated by art historian Susan M. Anderson, California Bounty is the first curatorial interpretation of the museum’s distinguished painting collection since 1994.

The exhibition highlights the museum’s commitment to collecting fine art over its 80-year history and brings to the forefront 60 paintings that represent the finest of its California Art collection. These works include quintessential plein air paintings of California’s idyllic interior and coastal landscapes, realistic still lives depicting the bountiful fruits and flowers the state offers through its ideal year-round climate and stunning portraits of notable and common people who have contributed to California’s history in various ways.

A fresh approach
Each work has undergone conservation and framing as needed in order to offer visitors an optimal viewing experience. The collection includes never displayed works and well-loved collections that have not been on view in decades. The exhibition is being presented in the original 1936 Bowers Museum building that is now known as the Mary Muth Historic Wing. The Wing has been dramatically renovated for this exhibition and is now equipped with 21st century lighting.

More about the exhibition
Viewers will take a rambling journey through California’s visual history, a history shaped by a unique mixture of Mexican and Anglo traditions as well as the state’s position on the Pacific Rim. The exhibition looks at the way art in California reflected the state's natural bounty as well as the promotional efforts of real estate developers and others to bring Americans West. Each painting epitomizes California’s land, people and offerings as a place of produce and plenty.

Highlighted artists include:

· Guy Rose, who spent considerable time in Paris and painted with Monet, among other French Impressionists. Rose was a major influencer of the California Impressionism movement.

· William Jewett, Northern California’s first most influential portraiture artist. His painting of entrepreneur David Hewes, famous for providing the golden spike connecting the transcontinental railroad, shows his sitter as a younger man before he became involved in the citrus business in Southern California.

· William and Alberta McCloskey who worked separately and collaboratively. The couple is best known for their often copied realistic images of paper-wrapped citrus and their ability to capture their sitters’ personalities through life-like portraits. The Bowers is proud to be the largest holder of the McCloskey’s work in the world.

· Fannie Duvall, a student of Whistler, who among other subjects captured the Missions of California. Her Masterpiece Confirmation Class is included in the exhibition.

· William Wendt, known as the “Dean of Southern California” among artists whose unique style captured the verdant landscapes and canyons tucked throughout the Southland.

· Other artists include Anna Athena Hills, Roger Kuntz, Edgar Payne, Henri Penelon, John Hubbard Rich, George Gardner Symons and many, many more.

“This is an exquisite exploration of California history through art, we’re proud to be displaying this collection of wonderful paintings,” said Scott Dunagan, Vice President of External Affairs at the Bowers Museum.

A catalog, Legacy of Bounty: Paintings from the Bowers Museum will delve even deeper into the museum’s assemblage of paintings through 168 pages. Focusing on the breadth of the collection, the hardbound catalog will include 138 of the museum’s most important historic, plein air, American and European paintings. The catalog will include two essays, one recounting the 80-year story behind the collection’s formation, and another by California Bounty curator Susan M. Anderson that focuses on the core of the museum’s collection - California paintings. This first and only catalog focusing on the Bowers’ painting collection is a must have for any art enthusiast.

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