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Small World Custom Framing by Gary Smith Oil paintings by
Linda Sorensen
Etchings by
Gail Packer
Palette Knife Landscapes
by Joshua Meador
Desert paintings by
Kathi Hilton
Watercolors by
Jean Warren
Oil paintings by
Alex Dzigurski II
Photography of
Diane Perry

Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery Exterior Thumbnail

Now at the Gallery ...

From the Fifties 665
From our February 2012

SF Bay Bridge Thumbnail 1955

From 1955, A Film Travelogue of SF,
the times of John W. Hilton,
Joshua Meador & Robert Rishell

with accompanying works by Sebastopol's famed watercolorist,
Grace Allison Griffith & California Landscapes and Beyond by Andreas Roth

John W Hilton and James Cagney

John painting with is good friend and painting partner, actor
James Cagneyhn

John W. Hilton (1904-1983) was doing well in the 1950's. His work was being recognized by people who counted. He was honored with a one man show at New York's Grand Central Gallery and was inducted in into the Salmagundi Club in New York. He was writing articles and having his work published regulary for Desert Magazine and Arizona Highways Magazine, and his paintings were popular and selling.

As a younger man, Hilton had come to know the Mojave Desert like no one else. His desert gem shop and art gallery was the scene of some of his art lessons with some of his closest desert friends, desert painters Maynard Dixon, Nicolai Fechin, Jimmy Swinnerton, and Clyde Forsyth.

As World War II began, Hilton's first hand knowledge lead to a reconoitering jeep expedition with General George Patton as the general was preparing to train troops for his Africa campaign. Later during the war in 1943, Hilton's humble gallery hosted his friend Howard Hughes who flew his plane from Los Angeles and landed on the highway out front, bringing fresh Maine lobster for Kathi, John's daughter who was enjoying her fourth birthday party.

John W Hilton donating a painting to Dwight Eisenhower at the White Hosue 1957
John W. Hilton delivering his Painting of Twentynine Palms Oasis to President Eisenhower's Oval Office, Jan 1957

At the time, Hilton was operating his own calcite mine. The calcite was of an optical grade and was used by MIT and Edwin Land (of Polaroid Land Camera fame) to make gun sites for anti aircraft weapons aboard American bombers. The sites made it much easier to target enemy fighters from shooting down our bombing crews. Although he could have become a wealthy man from the enterprise, Hilton refused to make money on the venture as he felt it was his way of doing his part for the war effort.

After the war, Hilton met the returning victorious General Dwight Eisenhower while showing his work at an outdoor art show in Palm Springs. Ike was an aspiring ameteur painter, and struck up an immediate friendship with Hilton. When Ike came to Palm Springs to play golf, he would go missing for hours on end. Only his most senior aids knew the President was at Hilton's house painting. In 1957, Hilton would present his painting Twentynine Palms Oasis which Eisenhower displayed in his Oval Office.

Below are four of Hilton's paintings currently on exhibit at our gallery.

John W Hilton Desert Dunes Thunbnail

John Hilton
Desert Dunes, 1936
John W Hilton Monument Valley

John Hilton
Monument, 1951
John W Hilton Hellhole Canyon

John Hilton
Fall in the Canyon
John W Hilton La Mananita

John Hilton
La Mananita, 1963
Joshu doing lava effects for Fantasia at Diseny Studios

Joshua Meador works
on lava effects for Fantasia

Joshua Meador (1911-1965) was at the apex of his career in the 1950's.

As a young man during the 1920's, he was an track star in his native Columbus, Mississippi, and an honor student. His father's influence garnered young Josh an appointment to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, but the brave young artist had the courage to tell his father he did not want a military career, but wanted to be an artist. To his father's credit, Josh enrolled at the Art Institute in Chicago, and graduated cum laude into the midst of the Great Depression in 1935.

After a brief stint painting Post Offices for the WPA, Meador, submitted his portfolio to Walt Disney, an aspiring animation film maker in California. As a younger man, Walt Disney had wanted to attend the Art Institute.

Josh doing water effects Walt Disney looking on

Josh working on color water effects
with Walt Disney, looking on
Joshua Meador Caspar Inlet

Caspar Inlet

Now enjoying some success in Hollywood, he was in a position to hire some of the best artists he could find, and among them, he hired Josh.

Josh loved his job at Disney. He enjoyed the collaborative environment working with the many artists assembled by Walt. Josh became director of of animation effects, and among contributions made by him were methods and techniques which gave fairy dust to Tinkerbell and the "Z" in Zoro. He worked on all the Disney classics produced by the studio for twenty years, including directing a portion of the groundbreaking animated feature, Fantasia.

Joshua Meadors Captian Vallejos Casa

Captain Vallejo's Casa
On the town square in Sonoma, CA
Joshua Meador Rainy Day Bodega

Rainy Day (town of Bodega)
Joshua Meador Bodega Pier

Bodega Pier

During much of 1955, Josh was working on loan from Disney with MGM Studios, doing special animation effects for the ground breaking Science Fiction film, Forbidden Planet, a forerunner of Star Trek and Star Wars.

Above are four of Joshua Meador's paintings currently on exhibit at our gallery.

Robert Rishell Photo
Artist Robert Rishell, here
photographed wearing one of his
familiar torquois bolo ties.

Robert Rishell (1917-1976) was at the center of the Bay Area's art scene of the 1950's.

In 1949, Robert Rishell was an energetic member of the Society of Western Artists (SWA) and he organized the first showing of the Society of Western Artists at the California Spring Garden Show in 1949. His father was the Mayor of Oakland, Clifford E. Rishell who was mayor during the construciton of the Bay Bridge. Young Robert did not follow his father into politics, deciding to dedicate his life to painting. He trained at the California College of Arts and Crafts and studied with Xavier Martinez, who had in turn trained with the great American Impressionist, John Singer Sargent.

Robert was a strong proponant for in California Art. He was a driving force in the establishment of the Oakland Museum, today one of the state's most extensive venues for historic California painting. He was

Robert Rishell Painting in the Mojave Robert Rishell painting in the Mojave

well known and respected and was a member of the Bohemian Club. His daughter Lynn reports that Robert enjoyed the Bohemian Club campouts on the Russian River, especially enjoying the antics of his tent-mates, ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and author Herman Wouk.

In 1974, Governor Ronald Reagan chose Robert to do his official gubinitorial portrait. This stunning painting of a back lit Reagan smiling on the sunny grounds of the State Capital in Sacramento.

Robert Rishell's Portrait of Ronald Reagan

Robert Rishell, Official Porait of
Gov. Ronald Reagan
State Capitol, Sacramento, 1974

Rishell often painted beyond the Bay Area. He most enjoyed the Mojave Desert and the Palm Springs area. He exhibited there often and once sold multiple paintings to Senator Barry Goldwater. His daughter recalls fondly a visit to the Twentynine Palms home of artist John W. Hilton, noting Hilton's olympic sized swimming pool fed by desert hot springs. In 1968, he was interviewed by Bob Avery on KGO radio during an exhibition of Rishells work at the Desert Southwest Art Gallery in Palm Springs.

Robert Rishell Princess Family Horse

Robert Rishell,
Princess, Family Horse, 1946
Robert Rishell Trail of the Giants

Robert Rishell,
Trail of the Giants
Robert Rishell Mountain Trail

Robert Rishell,
Mountain Trail

Sadly, during the 1950's, in a moment of ignorant optimism, Robert agreed to witness a test of an atomic bomb in Nevada. Years after this trip, Robert's health began to wane, ending in a debilitating five-year long battle with multiple myeloma, a common fate among those exposed to such tests.

Above are three Robert Rishell paintings currently on exhibit at the gallery, and his portrait of Governor Ronald Reagon done in 1974.

Photo of Grace Griffith circa 1905
Photo of Grace Griffith, circa 1905
Grace Myrtle Allison Griffith 1885 - 1955

Grace studied art in San Francisco with Lorenzo P. Latimer. She created landscapes of Sonoma and Marin Counties.

Grace Myrtle Allison Griffith was born in Sebastopol, California.  Her father, Nathaniel A. Griffith, was a successful pioneer fruit rancher. In 1883, he purchased 80 acres on Laguna Road west of Santa Rosa which contained a year round spring fed stream. He introduced the Gravenstein apple to the Sebastopol region.  He was a close friend of famed horticulturist Luther Burbank. Grace did paintings and illustrations for Luther Burbank of his hybrid fruits. Aside from raising apples, he and his wife Ida raised and encouraged three remarkable and talented daughters: Grace, a gifted painter, Alice, an avid and active enthusiast of nature, and Nell, a gifted and well published California poet.

Grace Allison Griffith Spring Shower Valley of the Moon Midsized Thumbnail
"Spring Shower, Valley of the Moon"
Grace Allison Griffith Early Spring Midsized Thumbnail
"Early Spring"
Grace Allison Griffith Sheep Hills and Eucalyptus Midsized Thumbnail
Sheep, Hills and Eucalyptus
Grace Allison Griffith Meadow Oaks Triptych
Meadow Oaks triptych
Grace Allison Griffith Grazing Sheep Sonoma Midsized Thumbnail
Grazing Sheep Sonoma, 1924
Grace Allison Griffith Woodland Path Midsized Thumbnail
Woodland Path
Grace Allison Griffith Mossy Oak and Poppies Midsized Thumbnail
"Mossy Oaks and Poppies"
Grace Allison Griffith Dune Path Midsized Thumbnail
Dune Path, 1913
Grace Allison Griffith Pasture Path Midsized Thumbnail
Pasture Path
Grace Allison Griffith Landscape at Twilight Midsized Thumbnail
Landscape at Twilight
Grace Allison Griffith California Oak and Sheep Midsized Thumbnail
California Oak and Sheep
Grace Allison Griffith Pasture and Eucalyptus Midsized Thumbnail
Pasture and Eucalyptus
Grace Allison Griffith Poplars Path and Fence Midsized Thumbnail
Poplars, Path and Fence
Grace Allison Griffith Oak and Stream Midsized Thumbnail
Oak and Stream
Grace Allison Griffith Mossy Oak and Spring Midsized Thumbnail
Mossy Oak and Spring
Grace Allison Griffith Poplar Trio and Brook Midsized Thumbnail
Poplar Trio and Brook
Andreas Roth Painting at Mission San Juan Capistrano
Andreas painting
at San Juan Capistrano
Andreas Roth 1872 - 1949 Andreas Roth at Lake Louise Alberta
Andreas on shore
at Lake Louise, Alberta

Andreas Roth's life in Germany was challenged by deprivations following WW I and the events leading toward World War II. At age 60, Andreas Roth set on a daring move to leave his home and head for the U.S.

In Germany, he honed his artistic talents and trained as a successful landscape artist. He painted still lifes and landscapes, but especially enjoyed creating Alpine scenes in Austria. But in 1932, at age 60, he headed for California making Los Angels his new home. He corresponded with his son remaining in Germany. From these letters, the family

Roth Andreas Alpine Lake 1925 Mid .jpg
Alpine Lake 1925
Roth Andreas Desertscape Mid .jpg
Desertscape 1933
Andreas Roth Desert Town Midsized Thumbnail
Palm Springs and San Jacinto, 1938
Roth Andreas Lake Louise 1943 Mid .jpg
Lake Louise 1943

says some pollitics were discussed, but that Andreas emigrated to the U.S. because of artistic opportunities, not for religous or politcal reasons.

In Los Angeles, Andreas energetically worked to reestablish his painting career. Over the next ten years, he explored the diverse scenery of California, its vast deserts, towering mountains, and dynamic sea coasts.

In the early 1940's with Andreas now in his 70's, he still possessed a spirited willingness to travel and explore new locales to paint.

Roth Andreas Lake Louise Cabin Mid .jpg
Lake Louise Cabin 1946
Athebaska Glacier Jasper National Park Alberta Canada
Columbia Icefield 1949

Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada
Roth Andreas Cypress Point Mid .jpg
Cypress Point 1948
Roth Andreas European Lake Mid .jpg
European Lake (before 1930)

While maintiaining his home in Los Angeles, he often visited Bamff National Park and Lake Louise in southeastern Alberta and venturing north to Jaspar National Park. For Andreas, the Canadian Rockies were reminiscent of the Austrian Alps where he painted earlier in his career.

Andreas has been exhibited at the Orange County Museum, and his distinctive style has garnered a loyal group of collectors.

Sources: Photos and biographical information from Andreas Leipold of Germany, the artist's great-grandson, and Artists in California 1786 - 1940, Edan Milton Hughes, 3d ed.

Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery | 1785 Coast Highway One, PO Box 325 Bodega Bay, CA 94923 | 707-875-2911 | Email Us