Reiffel and early California art

Curator of Early California Art Janet Blake documents the Historical Art Council’s trip to San Diego.

Those of us who love early California art have been witness to several fine exhibitions in the past few months, including the Edgar Payne exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (originating at the Crocker Art Museum) and our own Clarence Hinkle exhibition, accompanied by Modern Spirit and the Group of Eight. Our permanent collection holds many significant works of early California art, and many are showcased in our current permanent collection exhibition, curated by Executive Director Malcolm Warner, which opened November 4. A few additions—generously loaned by private collectors—add breadth to the exhibition, notably a beautiful Guy Rose of Laguna shoreline and an Anna Hills seascape.

Council members enjoy tour on artwork

On November 17, the museum’s Historical Art Council went to San Diego to see the Charles Reiffel exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art and at the San Diego History Center. Expertly curated by Bram Dijkstra, the exhibition is entitled Charles Reiffel: An American Post-Impressionist and is open from November 10, 2012 through February 10, 2013. Although Reiffel has been thought of as one of the leading California impressionists, his work fits better in the category of post-impressionism. He developed a highly individual, bold, expressive style. He worked primarily in oil, but numerous etchings and pencil and crayon drawings are shown. As noted above, the exhibition is shown at two venues with excellent examples of his work at both. On display at the San Diego History Center are four large murals made by Reiffel for San Diego public schools in the 1930s under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration. I heartily encourage anyone interested in early California art to see the Reiffel exhibition.