Everyday Life in California

Regional Watercolors, 1930-1960

May 15, 2004 - November 14, 2004

"Everyday Life in California - Regional Watercolors, 1930-1960" was curated by Orange County collector Mark Hilbert and the Heritage Museum's staff curator Michael Trotter.

California has been the home to a large number of extremely talented and versatile watercolor artists. While some became nationally and internationally recognized, most were largely overlooked until recent years. The exhibition opened on May 15 and includes watercolors by Rex Brandt, Emil Kosa Jr., Barse Miller, Charles Payzant, and Millard Sheets, among many others.

To some degree these young artists were rebelling against the established Plein Aire landscape painters that dominated the Southern California art scene in the late 1920s. To help define this as a new art movement they largely ignored the untouched natural landscape subjects that were glorified by the Plein Aire artists. Instead they chose to express themselves artistically by using elements of cityscape and suburban scenes with people, cars and buildings as subject matter for the works of art. In addition, they preferred to use watercolor on paper, instead of oils on canvas, which further separated them from the old school of artists. The unique difference between Southern California and Northern California watercolor painting styles also is evident in this exhibit.