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BBH Gallery Sign June 2008
Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery Monthly

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

1580 Eastshore Road, PO Box 325, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, 707-875-2911 (map)
email: Art@BodegaBayHeritageGallery.com | www.BodegaBayHeritageGallery.com

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

- At the Gallery
- Gordon Coutts 1868 - 1937: A California Painter ... and so much more
- The San Francisco Call, 1910 ... a Sequoia Club benefit art exhibition and auction for an artist's family
- From San Quentin, Art as Liberation for the Spirit
- Update: The proposed San Onofre expressway through a State Park is to have a public hearing
- Cost of Gas Getting you Down? ... Bodega Bay: Close by, Yet a World Away
- Gallery Notes
- Neighboring galleries, "What are they up to these days? "
- Museum links: Current exhibits relating to Early California Art

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At the Gallery
ongoing through June ...
19th Century Painters Banner

& beginning in July through August (preview available soon)
Big Splash Banner
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Gordon Coutts 1868 - 1937: A California Painter ... and so much more

Note: Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery wishes to credit and thank collector and art historian Roy Farrington Jones of Marin County for his assistance.

Four Continents! In a time when air travel didn’t exist, Gordon Coutts was an active and well-known artist on four continents: Europe, Australia, North America, and Africa. He came to California in 1902 after his ten year stay in Australia and after a brief stay in London.

cover painting by Gordon Coutts for a recent exhibition catalogue "Footloose in Arcadia," featuring turn of the century artists of Piedmont, California. St. Mary's College, Moraga, California. Catalogue is available from their store or ours.

A Scottsman born in Glasgow, Gordon Coutts studied art in Paris with Carl Rossi, Lefebvre, Fleury, and Deschenot at at the Academie Julian. While in France, he married an Australian art student, Alice Gray. He accompanied Alice to Melbourne, Victoria, teaching at the Melbourne National Gallery School from 1893 to 1896. While still teaching in Melbourne, he also taught at the Art Society of New South Wales in Sydney until 1903. After success in Australia, Gordon and Alice went to London where Gordon exhibited his works at the Royal Academy.

Shortly afterward in 1902, the couple moved to the American West, eventually building a home in 1907 in an established “Bohemian community” of artists in hillside Piedmont located above Oakland with commanding views of San Francisco Bay. Like his neighbors, Xavier Martinez, Chris and Angela Ghirardelli Jorgensen, and Giuseppe Cadenasso, he was a member of the famed Bohemian Club and involved deeply in the Northern California artist community. From his Piedmont home, he made many painting excursions to paint the scenery of Northern California.

While in California, Alice grew artistically and was influenced by another California woman artist and friend, Grace Carpenter Hudson of Ukiah. Following Grace Hudson's lead, Alice painted American Indians, specializing in portraits. Due to the similar style and subject, Alice's paintings are often confused with those of Grace Hudson.

Meanwhile, Coutts was always an inquisitive traveler. During the years of World War I, Coutts ventured to Algeria and Morocco, seeking new adventure and perhaps some distance from troubles with Alice back home. Meanwhile in California, Alice divorced him in 1918. Gordon returned to San Francisco, but in time developed a case of tuberculosis. To combat the condition, he relocated to the California deserts of Palm Springs. There he built a home modeled after the motifs of castles he had known in Algeria and Morocco, a villa he called “Dar Marroc.”

His new desert home included his studio where he created works of the surrounding scenery. Today, Gordon Coutt's villa is a well known luxury hotel named Korakia. When Coutts lived in the house, it was the center of Palm Springs society. Fellow artists visited him there, including Nicolai Fechin and Grant Wood. Movie stars were frequent guests, and Rudolph Valentino was among them. And there was an up-and-coming politician, Sir Winston Churchill, who dipped his brush and painted a canvas in Dar Morroc’s studio.

In a time when many people seldom ventured further than a hundred miles from the place of their birth, Gordon Coutts saw the world. His paintings reflect his worldwide experience, and reveal an openness and a celebration of light and life. He was a member of the Bohemian Club and the Royal Academy, and his works reside in the collections of the Adelaide National Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the De Young Museum in San Francisco, the Oakland Museum of California and the National Gallery of Art in Sydney, Australia.

The webpage violetbooks.com/squier-coutts.html provides links to example Coutts paintings in Australia, Northern California, and Morocco which together with the examples in the museum exhibit referenced above and our gallery allow for some comment on the progression of his style, and the approximate dating of his works. The 1898 Australian painting demonstrates an impressionistic approach with some of the brightness of color seen in the later works. The Rodeo Cove example presents a fineness of finish seen in traditional turn of the Century San Francisco fine art, and the bucolic Marin County scenes as well, but again they show choices of bright color that were his own. The garden painting above is looser, more impressionistic, and would be on the later side of his Northern California period when he and Alice had the house whose garden is probably depicted; the influence of his neighbors can be inferred in both "Arcadian" subject and style. The Mt. Tam with striking blue pond water appears to be earlier in its techniques. The Upper Tuolumne mountainscape and the Moroccan painting of the artist's studio view have much in common in terms of the fuzzier brushstrokes, expression of strong color, and study of light expressed in the shadowed foreground and sunlit background, and both may therefore be after the Piedmont period. By contrast, many examples of the yet later Palm Springs period including the one in our gallery show a more tonalist side of impressionism of sunblasted pastels and even less distinct details. The color choices remain distinctively Coutts'.

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Again, we are sharing an article from the San Francisco Call, which announced an art exhibition and auction held for the benefit of the family of fellow artist Newton J. Tharp, who passed away the previous year. The artist community donated their works for this auction, and frames were given by notable San Francisco merchants . Please note that at that time, many of these artists were referred to by their last names only, testament to their popularity and the general public's knowledge and love of art.

Newton J. Tharp was an architect, artist and Bohemian Club member who resided in Petaluma. After the earthquake in 1906, he became San Francisco's architect, and among other accomplishments, designed the Dewey monument in Union Square. He studied art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and the San Francisco School of Design. In Sonoma County, we was a good friend of Luther Burbank. He died on May 12, 1909 after contracting pneumonia in New York City.

The San Francisco Call Bannerhead
Notable Paintings to be Displayed
Collection Donated by California Artists Will Be Exhibited at Sequoia Club
The San Francisco Call, January 22, 1910

Paintings by two notable California artists given in memory of Newton J. Tharp, who died recently in New York, the proceeds from the sale of which are to form the nucleus of an educational fund for the artist’s young son, are to be placed on exhibition this afternoon at the Sequoia club, in the Mercedes building, Post Street and Grant avenue. The 22 pictures are to be raffled at the San Francisco Institute of Art on the evening of February 4, when an informal reception will be given by the officers of the institution.

In all 500 tickets have been disposed of to members of the Bohemian club and others attracted by the intrinsic worth of the canvases, which are valued at $3,000. The charitable spirit of the affair has prompted the painters to donate some of their best canvases. There are many large paintings by Keith, Dickman, and Del Mue, a brilliant picture from the brush of Ernest Peixotto, while Orrin Peck, Arthur Mathews, Thad Welch and Will Sparks have all given of their best productions.

Frank McComas has contributed a glowing watercolor of the Monterey adobes. Chris Jorgensen has a large canvas of sequoias, while Cadenasso has given a group of eucalypti bathed in one of his golden sunsets. Xavier Martinez has a fine example in the collection. There are other paintings by Theodore Wores, Newhaus, Boroughs, Burgdorff, Gordon Coutts and Latimer.

The frames are the gift of Vickery and of Gump. The exhibition will be entirely free and will be open from 10 o’clock in the morning until 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Tickets may be obtained from the management of the Sequoia club, at Vickery’s and at Gump’s, Robertson’s, Sherman, Clay & Co.’s, the Institute of Art, or from the memorial committee, consisting of Charles Dickman, Allan Dunn and Will Sparks. Back to the top

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William Noguera Photo
photo courtesy of Braunstein/Quay Gallery

From San Quentin --
Art as Liberation for the Spirit

reflections on an extraordinary article by
Jesse Hamlin of the SF Chronicle
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

left: Artist William Noguera creates art from his studio,
a 4-by-10-foot prison cell on death row.

right: "The Spaniard: A Tribute to Pablo Picasso,"
now exhibited at the Braunstein/Quay Gallery in San Francisco.

Pablo Picasso Portrait by William Noguera
photo courtesy of Braunstein/Quay Gallery

William Noguera calls his style "hyper-realistic, monochromatic neo-cubism."

"Art 'is not a luxury for me, it's a necessity,' Noguera said. 'There's a transcendence. I rise above the situation. As soon as I pick up the pen, I'm gone from this place. Art gives me the freedom I crave. The only thing I have is my imagination. Art for me is about childhood, going back to when things were simple and innocent. The man before you is just a vehicle for that little boy.' "

As a rule, newspapers inform and seldom inspire. But this article about artist William Noguera by Jesse Hamlin in the Wednesday May 28th edition of the SF Chronicle is a gem of an exception.

William Noguera is the son of artists who learned to draw at an early age. As his adult life was beginning to unfold, he committed a crime, and was convicted and sentenced. As for anyone confined by unfavorable circumstance, William had to find a way to cope, to sink his roots, and allow his spirit to live. He accomplished this goal by advancing his drawing skills he learned as a child, and expressing himself through art.

What William Noguera has accomplished gives us cause to ask larger questions. What was it in the lives of all artists which is similar to William Noguera's experience, or to ask it in a different way, how are William Noguera and Pablo Picasso similar? What is it in the artist that drives them to create, and brings the artist so much life and sense of liberation, of peace? What is it in the art lover that draws us to the struggle and expression of the artist?

The answers to these questions may best be found in the artists themselves. William Noguera, an artist thriving in an extreme and rare circumstances, perhaps has advice for us all. Regardless of the dimensions of our personal cells and circumstances which are the boundaries of our experience, Noguera teaches us to uncover and exercise our imaginations and discover that child in ourselves, and allow that wonder and joy to live, a way to rise above it all.

Links to the SF Chronicle article and the Braunstein/Quay Gallery Exhibition are above. Back to the top

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Update: The proposed San Onofre expressway
through San Onofre State Park is to have a public hearing
Last month, we reported on two prominent members of the Parks and Recreation Commision (fellow Hollywood legend, Clint Eastwood, and his brother-in-law, Bobby Shriver) who were fired by Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger. The move by the Guv was thought by many to be political -- to clear opposition to a highway through San Onofre State Park and a high powerline through Borrego Springs State Park, located near artist John W. Hilton's Salton Sea home. One of our readers has informed us that the The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has now granted a hearing on the San Onofre project. "Friends of the Foothills" is coordinating a grass roots effort to stop this move.

Click here to see the Los Angeles Times article.
Click here for the Friends of the Foothills Website
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Cost of Gas Getting you Down?
Bodega Bay Population Sign
Close by, Yet a World Away

Bodega Bay Sunset Tall

If you start from downtown San Francisco, figuring twenty five mpg and $4.00 per gallon, a round trip to Seattle, 833 miles away, would cost $266.56. Assuming the same mpg and price per gallon, here are costs for closer round trip destinations: Portland, $202.56; San Diego, $160.00; Palm Springs, $155.84; Tahoe, $63.36; Yosemite, $48.96; and Bodega Bay, $20.80.

Gas prices are through the roof, and prices for crude keep going higher. Meanwhile the oil execs on Capitol Hill say they aren’t the problem and even more so, they aren’t the ones we should blame. To bend a Shakespearean phrase from Hamlet, they protest too much.

On May 23rd, The SF Chronicle reported on how gas prices are changing many holiday plans. Long car trips are way down. For trips to the Northwest, Southern California, and the Sierras, gas used to be a minor consideration, but no more.

The solution? Grumble and pay up, drive less, or stay at home. We suggest, drive less. With much less than half the gas, you can enjoy a vacation getaway destination equal to more distant corners of the West. Our hotels, restaurants, outdoor activities, vendors, and galleries would be pleased to see you. Remember, Bodega Bay: Close by and a World Away.

For assistance in planning, visit BodegaBay.com . Back to the top

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Gallery Notes

Booklets of our Early California Art: 19th Century Painters of Northern California are available.
Pick one up at the gallery or send us your mailing address.
Previous Exhibition Booklets are also available
"California Style WPA Watercolors" & "Painters of the Desert" exhibits.
See what's New in our Gallery's Collection
Visit our "Recent Acquisitions Page"

Our Archives page
previous gallery exhibits and monthly newsletters.
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What are our neighboring galleries up to these days?

Local Color Gallery Local Color Gallery
Invited Artists Exhibit: through June 29th
Watercolors by Irene Ehret, Acrylics by Mary Vaughan
Computer Collage by Beverly Judd, & Sculptures by Bob Sorani

Blue Whale Center (same Building as Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery)
1580 Eastshore Road, Bodega Bay, 707-875-2744
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.
Current Show: work by Daniel Kelly, Katsunori Hamanishi, Ryohei Tanaka, Seiko Tachibana, Robert DeVee & other gallery artists.
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)
Christopher Queen Gallery Christopher Queen Galleries in Duncans Mills on the Russian River
"Current Show: Painters Eden"
Twelve of Christopher Queen's contemporary artists
painted scenes of the local area. Check the website for details.
During your visit, make certain you view the treasures in the room upstairs!
Also in Duncans Mills is the Quercia Gallery, presenting new sculptural vases by Bobbi Quercia, and a show of "Seed to Bloom" paintings by Ron Quercia - just the thing to bring a sense of calm and beauty to our home environments. It's just a short stroll and one easy flight of stairs up from the Christopher Queen Galleries.

The Quicksilver Mine Co. 6671 Front St. (Hwy. 116)
Downtown Forestville PHONE: 707.887.0799
Paintings by Chiyomi Taneike Longo through June 22nd
Coming Exhibit -- THE FOX'S WEDDING Pamela Blotner
Artist Reception: Saturday June 28, 4—6pm

Linda Ratzlaff

Graton Gallery
9048 Graton Road, Graton, California (707) 829-8912
Current Show: Many Muses -- Rik Olson, Pam Lewis,
Sandra Speidel & Lou Rosenberger

William Lester Gallery Photo William Lester Gallery
11101 Shoreline Highway, PO Box 699, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
6th Annual Plein Air Annual Paint Out
"First View" Sale and Reception, Sunday June 1, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

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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
Monterey Monterey Museum of Art
Men, Ships and the Sea: Masterworks of California Painting by Armin Hansen and William Ritschel
Dec 22, '07- Jun 22, '08
The Monterey Cypress: Celebrating an Icon

December 22, 2007 – June 22, 2008
The John H. Marble Gallery of the Art of Central California
Ukiah Grace Hudson Museum
Grace Hudson permanent collection
Santa Rosa Sonoma County Museum
Rotating history gallery
Sacramento Crocker Art Museum
Permanent Exhibit: Early California Art
Sacramento Capitol Museum
150 years of urban portraits
capturing the growth of California’s towns
San Diego San Diego Museum of Art
Georgia O’Keeffe and the Women of the Stieglitz Circle
May 24–September 28, 2008
Irvine The Irvine Museum
Abundance of Color: California Flowers in Art
through August 23, 2008
Seattle Seattle Art Museum
Inspiring Impressionism: The Impressionists
and the art of the past
June 19 through September 21, 2008

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

Palm Springs Palm Springs Art Museum
Permanent Collection: American 19th-Century Landscape Painting, and American Desert Painting

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

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

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