James Strombotne, Laguna Beach, 1960


James Strombotne
Laguna Beach
Oil on canvas, 1960
50 1/2 x 70 1/4 inches
Gift of Sterling Holloway
1965.005
.
James Strombotne offers his caricatural take on Laguna Beach beachgoers, who show off various degrees of suntan and types of swimsuit. Presumably the topless women are an element of fantasy. The artist sold the work to actor and Laguna Beach resident Sterling Holloway, best known as the voice of Winnie the Pooh. “The paint was barely dry when Sterling saw my painting in my studio above Bud’s Bike Shop in Claremont,” he recalls. “He loved the color and the exuberance.” Holloway later presented the work to the gallery of the Laguna Beach Art Association, predecessor of Laguna Art Museum. An idiosyncratic presence on the Southern California art scene since the 1960s, Strombotne taught at the University of California, Riverside from 1965 to 2005.