Thursday, September 21, 2006

California Dreamin'

I discovered the wondrous art galleries in the Oakland Museum of California quite by accident. They are filled with treasures from all manner of California artists. Two artists who immediately captured my imagination were Arthur and Lucia Mathews. The two ran a furniture shop in San Francisco where they produced works of exquisite craftsmanship rarely equaled by today's shoddy manufacturing standards. They also created other exceptionally fine works of art- murals, illustrations, and paintings. Their many paintings and hand-crafted furniture and frames exemplify the Tonalist and Art Nouveau styles. It would be incredible to get to live with one if these creations in one's own home. But for now, I'm content to enjoy their work in museums. I'm especially excited about the opening of a new exhibit California as Muse: The Art of Arthur and Lucia Mathews. To my mind, no other artists have perfectly rendered the beauty of California like the Mathews- with their images of live oak and cypress trees to fields of poppies. Their work can also be seen in Stanford University, University California at Berkeley, and the Curran Theatre, Children's Hospital and Masonic Temple in San Francisco.

"California as Muse: The Art of Arthur & Lucia Mathews" -- Curator Harvey Jones describes the couple as "among the most important rediscoveries from a long list of neglected California artists." Their muted landscapes, graceful figures and glowing painted furniture influenced generations of artists and craft workers.
• Oct. 28-March 25, Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak streets, $5-$8, 510-238-2200,


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