Thomas Hunt, Newport Harbor Scene, n.d., oil on canvas, 28 x 30 inches, Collection of Ranney and Priscilla Draper

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What's it all about?

Thomas Lorraine Hunt (1882–1938) was the son of the well-known Canadian Impressionist painter John Powell Hunt. He spent much of his early life in Cleveland, but became active with the Laguna Beach Art Association in the early 1920s and moved permanently to Laguna Beach in 1927. He played a large part in the creation of the association’s new gallery on Cliff Drive (now the museum), which opened in 1929. Hunt painted snowy landscapes in Canada and Cleveland, although he is best known for the coastal and harbor scenes that he painted in Southern California and during regular visits to Gloucester, Massachusetts. A masterful, innovative colorist, he developed a distinctive style characterized by broad brushwork and bold effects of light and reflection.

The first solo exhibition of Hunt’s work was held shortly after his death and there has been no other since then. Comprising about fifty of Hunt’s paintings, Thomas Hunt: California Modernist is curated by Janet Blake, the museum’s curator of historical art, in collaboration with early California art researcher Keith Colestock. The fully illustrated catalogue will feature a biographical essay by Colestock presenting material to augment and correct the scant accounts of Hunt’s life published to date, as well as an essay by Blake discussing his influences and the evolution of his style.


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