BBH Gallery Sign August 2008
Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery Monthly

News, Articles, and Opinions from the world of California’s Heritage Art & Beyond

1580 Eastshore Road, PO Box 325, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, 707-875-2911 (map)
Now Open Thursdays (through August), Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays,
Noon until 5:00 PM (or prearranged appointment)

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In this issue: (click on each article or scroll down)

Monets Pond Lillies Thumbnail
Foundation in a small Indiana town sells its Monet for 81 Million

What neighboring galleries
are showing these days
Museum links: Current exhibits
relating to Early California Art
Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery Notes

Early California Landscapes
from the Sonoma County Museum Collection

A stunning array of masterful California landscapes awaits you at the Sonoma County Museum.

Sonoma County Museum
Continuing to August 31, the Sonoma County Museum's exhibit of Early California landscapes is well worth a visit to Santa Rosa (check out the exhibit at the Arts Council at 404 Mendocino Avenue at 5th at the same time). The second floor exhibit includes works by Thomas Hill, William Keith, Sidney Tilden Daken, Hugo Anton Fisher, Lorenzo Latimer, Charles Dorman Robinson, F. Schafer, and others. Several are quite large and spectacular, including floor-to-ceiling Latimer oil paintings of Bohemian Grove. Our favorite was the large scene of Yosemite by Hugo Anton Fisher, an excellent example of his masterful, complicated and yet ethereal oil painting technique.

John W. Hilton's Home Has Historical Site Status

It was the home of artist John W. Hilton during his lean years. At first glance, the ranch house at Dos Palmas on the Salton Sea seems quite humble. But when one takes a more probing look, these old haunts were far from lean or humble. His achievements there and the people who visited this old house weave a rich history, the ingredients of a growing legend.

Thanks to Jennie Kelly and her organization, Friends of Rancho Dos Palmas, The Riverside County Historical Commission has approved an application for "Historical Site Status" for the house and remaining structures at Rancho Dos Palmas. The Riverside County Board of Supervisors will vote on permanent status in the next couple of months.

B & W Exterior of Rancho Dos Palmas Ranch House Jennie Kelly in the front room of the ranch house at Rancho Dos Palmas
Above left, a black and white photo of the exterior of the ranch house at Rancho Dos Palmas. Above right, Jennie Kelly of Thermal, CA, who spearheaded preservation efforts, stands in the main room of the ranch house, and is displaying the Dos Palmas (dp) branding iron.

John Hilton lived in the ranch house of this early desert oasis and resort of the stars in the years just preceding and during World War II. Here, John hosted his artist friends who would set up easels and paint in the richness of John's hospitality. Jimmy Swinnerton, Clyde Forsythe, Orpha Mae Klinker and Maynard Dixon were frequent guests. Joining the desert painter guests was one of Hilton's best friends, famed writer Ed Ainsworth, an editor of the Los Angeles Times. Also making a visit was General George Patton who used John's knowledge of the desert. John accompanied the General as he reconnoitered locations to train tank commanders and crews for World War II. At John's gem shop nearby, another friend would land his plane on the highway out front, and once flew in fresh Maine lobsters for dinner. The gift-giving visitor from the sky wasn't Santa Claus - it was Howard Hughes. John's little daughter, now a skilled desert painter in her own right (Kathi Hilton), loved the lobsters, and Hughes had some delivered every Spring for "Little Katie's" birthday. After the war, John became friends with another notable painter, Dwight Eisenhower. Soon after the war, the general stopped by to view a Hilton exhibition in Palm Springs. Later, John was invited to the 1953 inaugural and presented the new President with a painting which would hang in the Oval Office.

What is known of John Hilton's life is fascinating and the stuff of legends. What is unknown is probably equally fascinating. He was a multi-talented giant of a man, and to peer into his paintings is to get a taste of his vast love and respect for the desert. Back to the Top

Disney Family Museum being built in an old barracks
in San Francisco's Presidio

No, this is not another amusement park! This is a different kind of Disney attraction.
Disney Museum Presidiio San Francisco, CA

The Walt Disney Family Museum is dedicated to the achievements, dreams, and wonder of Walt Disney, a man who had the had the wisdom to surround himself with talented and creative minds, and the energy to encourage young and old alike to allow their imaginations to breathe and thrive.

Transforming two of the Presidio's barracks into the Disney Family Museum is the dream of the Disney family, headed by Walt's daughter, Diane Disney Miller. It will be opening soon.

Among items to be on display are objects and artifacts recalling the times and life of Walt Disney. Many of these items were collected by Walt himself, while others were collected in recent years by the Disney family. See a Red Cross Ambulance similar to the one driven by a young Walt in the years just after World War I in northern France. Come and

understand how animation was done before computers, the old fashioned way, including an animator's "backlit" desk from the "Mouse Factory" in Burbank, and learn how an optical printer was used to allow for the blending of character cells against painted backgrounds. Walt was fascinated by miniatures, and his collection of them will be on hand. Also on display, perhaps the most unique special Academy Award Statue ever, given to Walt Disney in 1938 for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

View their website and learn more about the items which will be on display. Back to the Top

Academy Award Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Academy Award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The Fontainebleau Forest in Houston?

A new Houston exhibit explains the roots of plein air painting, the Barbizon School and Impressionism

Gustave Courbet The Guest of Wind
Gustave Courbet, 1819-1877 "The Gust of Wind"

Beginning in 1820 and lasting for the next fifty years before trends changed, inspired Parisian artists traveled to the nearby Fontainebleau Forest to capture its light. They laid the foundations of impressionism, of landscape photography, and even nature conservancy.

The National Gallery, in association with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, have organized this exhibit, seeking to trace the dual tracked evolution of landscape painting and photography. Included in the exhibit are works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Claude Monet, Jean-Francois Millett, Theodore Rousseau. and Auguste Renoir.

Corot was among the first in this movement to visit the Fontainebleau Forest, experimenting with open-air painting, capturing nature's beauty in ever-changing light and shadow in different seasons and weather conditions. These roots of plein air painting would spread throughout Europe and the United States. By the 1830s, an artistic colony was established in the town of Barbizon. By the 1840's, the introduction of paper negatives allowed photographers to join the painters.

The exhibition is divided into sections, each devoted to an aspect of the forest and its role in the development of naturalistic landscape painting and landscape photography. The sections are Discovery of the Forest, Trees and Rocks, Nature and Observation, Fontainebleau on a Grand Scale, and Village Life. More than 56 private and institutional lenders contributed works to the show, including the MFAH. The museum´s Great Oaks of the Vieux Bas-Bréau (1864) by Rousseau, Gustave Courbet´s Gust of Wind (1865), and two photographs by Le Gray, Tree, Forest of Fontainebleau (c. 1856) and Le Pavé de Chailly (1852) are among the highlights.
Back to the Top

The Leaning Tower is Stabilized

The thrill may be gone, but the poetry remains. After eighteen years of heroic efforts, Italy's famous eight story rebuff to the laws of gravity will marvel visitors for centuries to come, and will continue to bear testament to the symmetry, artistic grace and beauty of pre-renaissance architecture.
Italys famed Tower of Pisa

After eighteen years of heroic engineering prowess, La Torre Di Pisa will continue as one of Italy's most endearing icons. Michele Jamiolkowski, a professor emeritus of the Turin Polytechnic, confidently states that the tower will "rest easy" for the next three hundred years. Through a complex system of anchored cables and counterweights, and extensive measures to fortify the foundation, the tower's stability is better than it has ever been. Construction of the tower began in 1173 at the height of Pisa's military and economic power. The tower began its life on the level, but began to lean in 1178. Yet, over the next two centuries, construction continued, adding uneven floors to compensate for the tilt. After interruptions for various wars, the bell chamber was finally added in 1372, and may have been the scene of the tower's most famous "fabled" event. It was from the bell chamber that Galileo Galilei held his now famous gravity experiment of dropping two different sized cannon balls showing that their mass had nothing to do with their rate of fall.

In the mid twentieth century, Benito Mussolini ordered that concrete be poured into the foundations, but this only caused the structure to sink even more. During World War II, the Nazi Army used it as an observation post, and after being put under the control of the Americans, it was saved from allied artillerymen because an American sergeant decided not to call for the attack. By 1990, the structure was four meters off vertical, and estimates were made that the 14,500 ton structure would tip over between 2030 and 2040.

The tower is a campanile or bell tower of Pisa's neighboring cathedral, and a must see on any visitor's tour list. At the end of this summer, a ceremony will be held celebrate the end of restoration. Visit the tower's website. Back to the Top

Rockwell is Still Setting the Table
A Florida exhibition seeks to create artistic contemporary social commentary by creating parodies of Norman Rockwell's wartime series "The Four Freedoms" done 65 years ago.
Rockwell Freedom from Fear Thumbnail Rockwell Freedom from Want Thumbnail Rockwell Freedom of Worship Thumbnail Rockwell Freedom of Speech Thumbnail
Norman Rockwell created this series of paintings, "The Four Freedoms," during World War II. They were reproduced as war posters, and helped raise 133 million dollars for the war effort. These paintings depicted real war time Americans exercising their freedoms of Speech, Worship, freedom from Want, and freedom from Fear, all freedoms the nation was engaged in fighting for.

Perhaps the most striking commentary coming from this exhibition is that Rockwell's artistic form was pretty good for his time and even now. And even if these contemporary parodies were half as poignant and true as Rockwell's original work, the real artist here is Rockwell. It was his form. It was his art. And as these contemporary artists make their efforts, Rockwell is still the one setting the table. In any objective or subjective assessment, Rockwell's work is superior -- but this is the world of art and as we all know, interpretations and opinions range wildly.

The "Thoughts on Democracy" exhibit at the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach seeks to borrow Rockwell's work to address issues of contemporary America. Reviews of this exhibit maintain that this is not Rockwell's America. The sixty participating artists readily state that their works bear little resemblance to Rockwell's works. They contain no folksy citizens exercising their dearly held freedoms.

Elliott Earls Poster Liberty WeepsElliott Earls’s poster “Liberty Weeps,” part of the “Thoughts on Democracy” exhibition at the Wolfsonian Museum.

The participating artists say they are offering an artistic statement which goes beyond a mere reinterpretation of Rockwell. These artists are attempting to speak to an America in crisis, delivering a message that America's ideals are being eroded and exploited by way of fear. The artists interviewed said that now is not the time to celebrate America's greatness but to warn against complacency. They want Americans to break free from anxiety and the convenient avoidance of today's challenges by just looking the other way.

You may learn more from the links below, and decide for yourself. “Thoughts on Democracy” is on view through Dec. 7 at the Wolfsonian museum at Florida International University, 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach; (305) 531-1001, . Examples of the exhibit may be seen in the July 9 NY Times article, Rockwell Re-enlisted for a Nation’s Darker Mood. Back to the Top

Small Indiana Town Foundation sells a Monet for 81 Million
Jean Mueller Quadrapod Bridge Columbus Indiana
A bridge designed by Jean Muller called the Quadripod leads to and frames City Hall
in Columbus, Indiana.
Claude Monets Le Bassin aux Nympheas
Claude Monet's "Le Bassin aux Nympheas"
Claude Monet’s painting of water lilies sold for 40.1 million Pounds Sterling, approximately 81 million dollars. Monet’s 1919 painting entitled “Le Bassin aux Nympheas” is large, 6 feet, 7 inches across. Christies expected it to sell between 35 to 45 million dollars.

Observers at the Christie's Auction in London offered a reasoned

explanation for the surprising 81 million dollar price tag, saying it was caused by a weak dollar combined by demand from new Russian buyers.

How did this painting come to auction? Some years ago, the painting was acquired into the collection of J. Irwin Miller, a midwestern industrialist. The painting was offered by his foundation. J. Irwin Miller was chairman of Cummins Engine Company, a major builder of diesel engines, who guided its rise into the Fortune 500. When not building diesels, he helped his local community and was an inspired philanthropist. He refused to accept the notion that Columbus, Indiana, was a community in decline. He worked hard to thwart its deterioration, and came up with an unique way to achieve his goal. He gave businesses, government entities and church groups in Columbus, Indiana, a generous and rare service. If any Columbus entity wanted to build a new building, Miller offered to pay the architectural fees if the architect were chosen from his list of ten world-class architects. Today, Columbus is the showcase of architectural gems including buildings designed by Eero Saarinen and I. M. Pei.

During her Beautify America campaign, First Lady Lady Bird Johnson said of Columbus, it is "The Athens of the Prairie." Mr. Miller believed that public architecture creates a base for good living. Today, Columbus ranks with Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Boston among the top ten cities for Architectural innovation and design according to the American Institute of Architects. For a city of only 39,000 Hoosiers, that's quite an accomplishment. Back to the Top

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At Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery
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Gallery Notes
  • Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery is now open Thursdays, Noon until 5:00 PM through August.
  • Booklets of our Historic Painters of Carmel and Master Painters of the Sea are available. Pick one up at the gallery or send us your mailing address.
  • Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery is pleased to participate in "The Gallery Show" of the Arts Council of Sonoma County, featuring works from galleries all over Sonoma County. The exhibit runs August 2 - September 12. Opening reception is Saturday, August 2nd between 4:00 and 6:00 PM. The Arts Council of Sonoma County is located at 404 Mendocino Avenue, Ste C, Santa Rosa, CA 95401.
  • Northpoint Gallery on Jackson Street in San Francisco has an excellent and varied exhibit of paintings by Carl Sammons 1886-1968, nicely framed. A good companion to the exhibit at St. Mary's.
  • See the new video on our Alexander Dzigurski page entitled The Palette & Symphony.
  • See what's new in our gallery's collection by visiting our "Recently Acquired" page.
  • If you run across some interesting news from the art world, let us know. We may put it in the next issue.
  • Our Archives page has links to our previous gallery exhibits and monthly newsletters. Back to the Top

What is showing at our neighboring galleries?

Local Color Gallery

Local Color Gallery
Current Gallery Exhibit: through Aug 17, "Sonoma Imprints"
Jody Ship~ Judy Butler~Bob Sorani
Next Gallery Exhibit: Aug 23 - Oct 5, "Abstracts, Autos & Assemblage"
JC Henderson, Tamra Sanchez & Monty Monty
Blue Whale Center (same Building as Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery)
1580 Eastshore Road, Bodega Bay, 707-875-2744 Back to the Top

Ren Brown Collection The Ren Brown Collection
located an hour north of San Francisco in Bodega Bay. The gallery was established in 1989 and specializes in contemporary art from both sides of the Pacific. On Hwy 1 just a short stroll from the other two galleries.
Our Current Show: Visualizations: New Work on Fabric and Paper
July 30 - September 7, 2008

Meet Ellen Yamada Tzvetin and Yuko Kimura
and learn their techniques at their reception, Saturday August 2nd, 2-4 PM. Back to the Top
West County Design Center West County Design offers fine wood tables, polished concrete vanities,
counter tops and furniture, glass, ceramic, wood, metal, custom
and limited edition art and furniture for home & office.
Of special note, the photography of Jerry Dodrill is on exhibit as well.
14390 Highway One • Valley Ford, CA 94972 • 707.876.1963
(Across from the Valley Ford Hotel and Rocker Oysterfeller's Restaurant) Back to the Top
Christopher Queen Gallery Christopher Queen Galleries in Duncans Mills on the Russian River
Current Show: "Bohemian Reverie"
18th Annual Exhibition
Paintings by Artists of the Bohemian Club 1870's to 1920's
Through September Back to the Top

Also in Duncans Mills is the Quercia Gallery
featuring the sculpture of Bobbi Quercia and paintings of Ron Quercia

This month ... "Dreamers and Gardeners" by Gretchen Butler
June 1 - August 31
Open Wed through Sunday, 11 - 5
707-865-0243 Back to the Top

Jeanette Legrue

NEW IN TOMALES Legrue Art Gallery
exhibits the works of Jeanette Legrue,
widely exhibited award winning artist and teacher.
For aspiring and recreational artists, workshops are available. Back to the Top

The Quicksilver Mine Co. 6671 Front St. (Hwy. 116)
Downtown Forestville PHONE: 707.887.0799
August 8—September 14, 2008 / LEGACIES - THREE ARTISTS, THREE VIEWS
Bear, Nuala Creed, Linda MacDonald / Artist Reception: Saturday August 9, 4—6pm Back to the Top

Linda Ratzlaff Graton Gallery
9048 Graton Road, Graton, California (707) 829-8912
Gallery Show: "Barns, Farms & Animal Crackers"
Janet Moore and Nancy Winn, August 5 - September 28 Back to the Top
Sonoma Arts Council Logo Arts Council of Sonoma
404 Mendocino Ave, Ste C, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 707-542-3412
"The Gallery Show" a sampling of pieces from Sonoma County's Art Galleries
August 2 - September 12, Reception Saturday, August 2, 4:00 - 6:00 PM / Back to the Top
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Links to Current Museum Exhibits
Relevant to Early California Art
and beyond
Oakland Oakland Museum of California
Permanent gallery of historic art
(undergoing renovation until 2009)
The Art and History of Early California Dec '07 - ongoing
San Francisco de Young Museum
de Young Museum: American Painting Collection

San Francisco California Historical Society
Fine Arts Collection ...
Ukiah Grace Hudson Museum
Grace Hudson permanent collection
Monterey Monterey Museum of Art
Early California Collection
Moraga Hearst Art Gallery
Saint Mary's College of California
Carl Sammons, California Impressionist Landscapes
from the Donna Walsh Sumner Collection
Sacramento Crocker Art Museum
Permanent Exhibit: Early California Art
Santa Rosa Sonoma County Museum
California Paintings Collection, Thomas Hill, William Keith, Hugo Anton Fisher, Sydney Tilden Daken and Lorenzo Latimer
San Diego San Diego Museum of Art
Georgia O’Keeffe and the Women of the Stieglitz Circle
May 24–September 28, 2008
Sacramento Capitol Museum
150 years of urban portraits
capturing the growth of California’s towns
Seattle Seattle Art Museum
Inspiring Impressionism: The Impressionists
and the art of the past
June 19 through September 21, 2008
Irvine The Irvine Museum
Abundance of Color: California Flowers in Art
through August 23, 2008
Palm Springs Palm Springs Art Museum
Permanent Collection: American 19th-Century Landscape Painting, and American Desert Painting

Portland Portland Art Museum
The American Art Collection (permanent collection)

Oceanside Oceanside Museum of Art
Fifty Works from Fifty Years, 1900-1950 artists, such as Maurice Braun, Charles Fries, Charles Reiffel, Belle Baranceanu and Ethel Greene

Salt Lake City Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Monet to Picasso from the Cleveland Museum of Art

Houston, Texas The Museum of Fine Arts Houston
In the Forest of Fontainebleau:
Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet

Through October 19, 2008

Fort Worth, Texas Kimbell Art Museum
The Impressionists
Master paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago
June 29 - November 2, 2008
Back to the Top