Author Archives: admin-cma

Kindred Natures: Aldo Casanova and James Fuller

December 2, 2017 – March 25, 2018
Claremont Museum of Art, 200 W. 1st St, Claremont

This exhibition reintroduces two highly respected and revered local artists, Aldo Casanova and James Fuller. For over 30 years, each artist influenced generations of students while teaching at Scripps College, as well as maintaining active careers as exhibiting artists throughout the country. Sharing an affinity for the beauty of nature, this exhibition will highlight the kindred links between the sculptures of Aldo Casanova and the paintings of James Fuller.

Organized by Steve Comba in collaboration with Casanova and Fuller family members, the exhibition is generously sponsored by Jill Fulton, Joe and Georgette Unis, and Fritz and Mary Weis.

Aldo Casanova

Aldo Casanova, Torso I, 1963. Cast bronze on travertine base. Claremont Museum of Art collection. Gift of the artist in honor of Felice and Teresa Casanova

Aldo Casanova, Torso I, 1963. Cast bronze on travertine base. Claremont Museum of Art collection. Gift of the artist in honor of Felice and Teresa Casanova

Aldo Casanova was born in San Francisco in 1929, the son of Italian immigrant parents. He received both BA and MA degrees from San Francisco State University, and the PhD from Ohio State University. While still completing his doctorate, Aldo was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome, becoming artist in residence at the American Academy for eight full years. The experience remained a point of pride for him.

In 1992, Aldo was elected to the National Academy of Design, and in 1994, designated a fellow of the National Sculpture Society. His work can be found in numerous collections including the Franklin Murphy Sculpture Garden, UCLA; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The National Academy of Design; and Scripps College.

Inspired by nature, Aldo was acutely aware of its splendor and equally of our obligation to protect it. “I comment on the condition of the planet, political and environmentally, though my work,” he once said.  His oeuvre includes both naturalistic portrayals, of animals for example, and abstract organic forms that evoke the generative power of the earth. He also cited Picasso as a source, motivated particularly by the renowned artist’s intent to be “inquisitive, inventive, and productive to no end.”

Aldo was a model of the dedicated artist teacher—one committed equally to his students and his own work. Over the years, he taught at Antioch University, San Francisco State, Temple, SUNY Albany, the renowned Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and, from 1966-1999, Scripps College. To students he communicated his passion for sculpture, once commenting that, “The most wonderful medium in the world is the young person.”

Aldo passed away on September 10, 2014

James (Jim) Fuller

James Fuller, Untitled (from the Zion series), 1998, watercolor on paper. Collection of Steve Comba.

James Fuller, Untitled (from the Zion series), 1998, watercolor on paper. Collection of Steve Comba.

Born in Pierre, South Dakota in 1927, Jim Fuller exemplifies a generation of artists who, in the years following World War II, looked west for inspiration and education. He found California and ultimately Claremont, maturing here as an artist, educator, and enthusiastic advocate for the arts of this community.

He earned his A.A. degree at Chaffey College in 1949, and continued at U.C. Berkeley, where he earned both the B.A. and M.F.A. An accomplished printmaker, sculptor, and painter, he accepted a position at Cal State Los Angeles in 1955, teaching there until 1967.

In 1967, Jim joined the faculty at Scripps College where he would serve for nearly 30 years, retiring in 1996. His wise, always gentle, guidance would influence generations of artists, not only at Scripps and the other undergraduate Claremont colleges, but also at Claremont Graduate University. A devoted teacher, Jim also maintained an active career as an exhibiting artist, with numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the country to his credit. His works are to be found in prominent private and public collections such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Pasadena Art Museum (Norton Simon); Cal State Chico; U.C. Davis; Scripps College; and the City of Claremont.

Awards and honors span his career, from a Junior Art Council award from LACMA in 1957, to a six-month residency in Brittany under the auspices of the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation in 1993. In 2008, Jim was honored by the Claremont Museum of Art for his many contributions to the arts in Claremont and, specifically, to the founding of the museum.

Jim passed away on November 28, 2017.

Milford Zornes: The Claremont Years

Milford Zornes painting at Claremont Colleges circa 1958. Photo: Collection of Maria (Zornes) Baker.

November 10 – February 25, 2018
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 N. College Ave., Claremont. Exhibition is open Daily 10am-4pm
Garden admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children and free for CMA and RSABG members.

Milford Zornes: The Claremont Years presents watercolor landscapes from the years the artist lived and worked in Claremont: as a young man in 1930s; 1948-66 when he served as the director of the Padua Hills Art Institute; and his final years 1998-2008. The exhibition is generously sponsored by Curtis Real Estate.

Milford Zornes, Mt San Antonio, 2003 Watercolor. Collection of Richard Martinez.Photo by Gene Sasse.

Milford Zornes, Mt San Antonio, 2003 Watercolor. Collection of Richard Martinez.Photo by Gene Sasse.

Born in the panhandle of Oklahoma, Milford Zornes was known early on as “the kid who could draw.” After moving to California, Zornes attended Pomona College and began his career in watercolor and during the Depression painted a large number of works for the WPA. Locally his most famous work is the mural in the Claremont Post Office produced in the 1930s. He became President of the California Watercolor Society and in 1943 was drafted into the Army/Air Force as a war artist in China, Burma and India until 1945. He became an art professor at Pomona College and then worked for the Air Force in Thule, Greenland where he produced a collection of paintings.

Back in Claremont, he became the Art Director of the Padua Hills Art Institute, where he arranged shows of regional art in the lobby of the Theatre. He had become a leader of the California watercolor movement and mentor to dozens of younger artists.

In 1963 Milford and his wife Pat bought artist Maynard Dixon’s estate in Southern Utah but maintained an apartment at an adobe in Pomona. Through these years he held workshops and led painting trips all over the world. During the 1980s he developed macular degeneration but continued to paint full time even with limited vision. In 1998 the couple moved back to Claremont where he died in 2008 at the age of 100. His work is in countless collections and museums and had a painting selected by Eleanor Roosevelt for the White House.

Curtis Real Estate - Claremont's longest established real estate firm

Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Feature Milford Zornes

Milford Zornes, Mt San Antonio, 2003 Watercolor. Collection of Richard Martinez.Photo by Gene Sasse.

Milford Zornes, Mt San Antonio, 2003 Watercolor. Collection of Richard Martinez.Photo by Gene Sasse.

Claremont, CA (June 14, 2017) – The Claremont Museum of Art will host the 14th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 5 with an outdoor art show, exhibition and film, craft demonstrations, music and festive foods.  Visitors can shop for unique original artwork as they stroll through the beautiful olive groves of the Padua Hills Theatre. The exhibition will feature artist Milford Zornes along with the premiere of a new film Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection.

  • Sunday, November 5, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for Claremont Museum of Art members. Children under 18 are free. A free shuttle is available from Padua Park.
  • Twenty five area artists will display and sell their original artwork. New artwork this year will include paintings by Athena Hahn, Paul Kittlaus and Annie Marquis; jewelry by Meisha Barbee, Elizabeth Carr and Lynda Pasztor; fiber arts by Amber Calderilla and Cindy Rinne; ceramics by Kim Hau and woodworking by Jeremy Sullivan. And you will find many favorite returning Claremont artists: Paul Brayton, Sumi Foley, Rebecca Hamm, Kathryn Herrman, Patricia Hinds, Aleta Jacobson, Sherry Marger, Richard Martinez, Kathleen McCall, Jerry Owens, Gaby Tepper, Barry Vantiger, Ahlene Welsh, Jan Wheatcroft and Maureen Wheeler. In addition, area art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations.
  • This year’s exhibition will feature artist Milford Zornes, a longtime Claremont watercolor painter and the director of the Padua Hills Art Institute in the late 1950s. To compliment the exhibition, generously sponsored by Curtis Real Estate, a new documentary film Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection will be shown throughout the day.
  • ARTstART students will lead families in creative Art Activities. A Music Stage will feature local performers. Festive foods will be served with traditional Jamaica punch and fresh lemonade.

The Padua Hills Art Fiesta originated in 1953 for local artists to bring art into the community. The studio art movement that flourished here in the 1950s centered on the use of natural materials and traditional sensibilities. Visitors came from miles around to meet the artists and watch “art in action” at the popular festival. In 2011, the Claremont Museum of Art revived this tradition with a new generation of artists sharing their talents.

Go to www.claremontmuseum.org for information about the museum and current programs.

THE EXHIBITION + FILM

The Exhibition

Milford Zornes: The Claremont Years will present watercolor landscapes from the years the artist lived and worked in Claremont: as a young man in 1930s; 1948-66 when he served as the director of the Padua Hills Art Institute; and his final years 1998-2008. The exhibition is generously sponsored by Curtis Real Estate.

Born in the panhandle of Oklahoma, Milford Zornes was known early on as “the kid who could draw.”  After moving to California, Zornes attended Pomona College and began his career in watercolor and during the Depression painted a large number of works for the WPA.  Locally his most famous work is the mural in the Claremont Post Office produced in the 1930s.  He became President of the California Watercolor Society and in 1943 was drafted into the Army/Air Force as a war artist in China, Burma and India until 1945.  He became an art professor at Pomona College and then worked for the Air Force in Thule, Greenland where he produced a collection of paintings.  Back in Claremont, he became the Art Director of the Padua Hills Art Institute, where he arranged shows of regional art in the lobby of the Theatre. He had become a leader of the California watercolor movement and mentor to dozens of younger artists.

In 1963 Milford and his wife Pat bought artist Maynard Dixon’s estate in Southern Utah but maintained an apartment at an adobe in Pomona. Through these years he held workshops and led painting trips all over the world.  During the 1980s he developed macular degeneration but continued to paint full time even with limited vision. In 1998 the couple moved back to Claremont where he died in 2008 at the age of 100. His work is in countless collections and museums and had a painting selected by Eleanor Roosevelt for the White House.

The Film

A new documentary film Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection will premiere at the Art Fiesta. The 30-minute film will be shown throughout the day.

The iconic master of watercolor landscapes, Milford Zornes N.A., was known for his international scenes. From an early age he wanted to travel and his work is known around the world. However, throughout most of his 100 years of life and a career that spanned the 20th century from the Great Depression into the next, Zornes found inspiration, comfort and support in a little village east of Los Angeles. Claremont California, where he started his professional life studying with Millard Sheets, became an important touchstone for the itinerant artist. The Claremont area was the base from which he would travel and create for decades.  Besides his artwork, this new film explores the major events of the artist’s formation, early success as a member of the school California Scene Painting and struggles through different eras with his singular dedication to painting. His story is told by friends and colleagues from the Claremont art colony who knew him best and were the reason he returned to the area again and again.

Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection is produced by John Coleman, Grace McKay and Art Kirsch, who met and filmed the artist on the occasion of his 97th birthday in 2005. Subsequently they interviewed him many times, capturing Zornes at work in his studio, lecturing at museums and elsewhere. Milford Zornes: The Claremont Connection will also touch on a few of his Claremont friends and contemporaries including fellow artists.

PDF of the Art Fiesta 2017 Press Release

Dee Marcellus Cole to Transform the Claremont Depot into a Carnival of Color

Dee Marcellus Cole, a self-proclaimed faux-folk artist, creates vibrant sculptures constructed of wood and layered paper at her home in Upland in 2017.

Claremont, CA (June 13, 2017) – The Claremont Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, Dee Marcellus Cole and Carnival Seekers, will present the work of eight local folk artists driven, not by the art world, but by the instinctive need to create. The exhibition, generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC, will open on Saturday, August 5 with a reception from 6-9 p.m. during Art Walk and remain on view through November 26, 2017.

Dee Marcellus Cole, a self-proclaimed faux-folk artist living in Upland, creates vibrant sculptures constructed of wood and layered paper. These colorful creatures, whimsical in movement and spiritual in nature, are reminiscent of Latin American culture.

Inspired by her many travels to Mexico, Guatemala and throughout South America, Dee will transform the Claremont Depot into a carnival of bright colors, iconic images, and spiritual messages.  She has chosen to collaborate with some of Claremont and Pomona’s most distinctive artists for this exhibition including Johnnie Dominguez, Cathy Garcia, Sandy Garcia, Karen and John Neiuber, Christian Ornelas and Dan Romero to highlight celebration, in all shapes and forms.

Dee Marcellus Cole earned an MA in art from the Claremont Graduate School in 1984 and taught at La Verne University for twelve years. Known as the Goddess of the Pomona Art Colony she has inspired generations of artists, hosted studio tours, presented workshops and been exhibited in numerous solo shows.

The Claremont Museum of Art is located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street in Claremont just steps away from the Metrolink Station. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 and free for CMA members and children under 18. The museum is also open from 6 to 9 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month for the Art Walk.

The first Sunday of the every month is Free Family Day with free admission and ARTStation, a place for children to experience art and engage with local culture. High school students in CMA’s Project ARTstART lead visitors in an art activity related to the current exhibition. ARTStation is generously sponsored by Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty and Broadview Mortgage.

Go to www.claremontmuseum.org for more information about the museum, its history and current programs.

PDF of the Carnival Seekers Press Release

Dee Marcellus Cole and Carnival Seekers

Dee Marcellus Cole and Carnival Seekers
Friday, August 4 – November 26, 2017
Claremont Museum of Art at the Depot

Dee Marcellus Cole, a self-proclaimed faux-folk artist, creates vibrant sculptures constructed of wood and layered paper at her home in Upland in 2017.

Known as the “Goddess of Pomona,” Dee is an artist focused primarily on papier-mâché sculpture. She was an instructor at the University of La Verne and an Artist in Residence for San Bernardino County. She has led many workshops at venues ranging from the Maloof Foundation to the California State Woman’s Prison, and has received much acclaim for her pieces. Most recently, she was awarded Artist of the Year at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art in Ontario.

Inspired by her many travels to Mexico, Guatemala and throughout South America, Dee will transform the Claremont Depot into a carnival of bright colors, iconic images, and spiritual messages.  She has chosen to collaborate with some of Claremont and Pomona’s most distinctive artists for this exhibition including Johnnie Dominguez, Cathy Garcia, Sandy Garcia, Karen and John Neiuber, Christian Ornelas and Dan Romero to highlight celebration, in all shapes and forms.

Dee Marcellus Cole earned an MA in art from the Claremont Graduate School in 1984 and taught at La Verne University for twelve years. Known as the Goddess of the Pomona Art Colony she has inspired generations of artists, hosted studio tours, presented workshops and been exhibited in numerous solo shows.

Claremont Museum of Art, 200 W. 1st St, Claremont
August 4 – November 26, 2017

The exhibition, generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC.

Gould Asset Management

About the Artists

Dee Marcellus Cole

Known as the Goddess of Pomona, Dee is an artist focused primarily on papier-mâché sculpture. She was a professor at the University of La Verne, Chaffey College, and a Partner of Art in San Bernardino County Ontario. She has led many workshops ranging from the Maloof Foundation to the California State Woman’s Prison, and has received much acclaim for her pieces. Most recently, she was awarded Artist of the Year at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art in Ontario.

Many travels to visit folk artists in Mexico, Central and South America have influenced my work. I observed folk artists using influences, colors and designs.

Paper is my primary material. The pieces are constructed on a wooden armature. I then apply the paper to lightweight cardboard to give the pieces form. In order to give the piece strength, it is stuffed with newspaper.

The textiles and potter I have collected from Latin American countries inspire the colors, designs, and textures used in my art.

I see the work as whimsical and containing the best of life.

Johnnie Dominguez

Johnnie Dominguez is a fine art surreal illustrator.

Using primarily a Papermate ballpoint pen as the weapon of choice, I use personal experiences throughout my life from private school and foster care all the way to stab wounds and frozen yogurt to put bullet holes in the hypocrisy of the popular narrative. With a keen eye to spot the ugliness in a loving man’s heart, I reveal the dangers of diversity without law served up on a smorgasbord of degeneracy.

His newest work is visually representative of a positive alternative to his aforementioned series of works, sprinkled with hits of order and discipline, with a dash of proud Western chauvinism.

Cathy Garcia

Cathy is a self-taught mosaic artist who has worked in this medium for over 12 years. A psychotherapist by training she graduated from Cal Poly, Pomona and received her Masters at Phillips Graduate Institute in Encino, California. She maintained both a private practice and was employed by the County of San Bernardino as a Marriage and Family Therapist until she retired in 2007. Her mosaic work has been displayed in over 40 art shows and she was featured in 5 one- woman shows.

I love color and enjoy combining textures and shapes to bring vibrancy, movement and life to my pieces. A key component is to reinvent the old and unused into a thing of beauty. A “treasure hunt” for my supplies takes me to yard sales, thrift shops and friend’s garages. The mosaic process is similar to building a jigsaw puzzle without a map. The pieces unfold themselves. My current passion is creating human busts and animal figures which seem to have personalities of their own.

Sandy Garcia

Born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in East Los Angeles, exposure to Latino Chicano art inspired Sandy to pursue colorful and simple works of art.

As she paints, her attraction to Mexico’s bright colors become her pallet. Her expressions on faces, spirits of birds and nature are a few deep connections of her interpretation of Folk Art. She shares her passion with others with Folk Art Painting workshops.

My goal is to eliminate barriers that divide people from each other by focusing on the passion, emotion, and humanity we all share. In order to do this, I prefer the free, bold expressions of strong brush strokes and the vibrant colors associated with traditional folk art, these are elements that appeal more directly to the senses. I consider my art to be spiritual because I want to reflect a notion of freedom of the soul. My form of communication is to write with a paintbrush so that others can read it.

My desires are my paintings to become beautiful things in one’s private surroundings. Enjoy as you encounter my beautiful culture with the love of Folk Art.

John Neiuber

John was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Southern California. He did his undergraduate and graduate studies at California State University San Bernardino. He has worked in the music industry, public education and is currently a chief executive officer for a nonprofit children’s agency, in addition to his volunteer work with community groups.

John creates custom, one-of-a-kind, artistic light fixtures, using recycled materials and found objects. He currently resides in the Claremont Village where he shares a studio with his wife, Karen.

When I was a child I would collect any small electric appliance, light fixture or gadget that anyone was throwing away. I would combine elements from my various finds and create something new. I was often told that the things I created did not serve a purpose. But they did; they all provided light in some way.

Years later when I wanted a light fixture that was unique or to serve a certain purpose, I would make it, because what I envisioned could not be purchased. Today, I still take found pieces and combine them into light fixtures. I may make a pair of table lamps or floor lamps, but otherwise I don’t mass produce pieces; they are always hand painted and decorated—they are all one of a kind.

I have had no formal art training. I have experimented with painting, collage and assemblages, all of which have found their way into the illumination pieces I create. I suppose the lack of formal training makes my pieces folk art, along with the use of found objects. I like to inject humor and social commentary into my pieces, typically with the decoration or the title of the piece.

My inspiration, however, is derived from functional art and design. The various light fixture and other parts in my studio are sorted by purpose, and as I work, the parts just seem to find one another. I make them to light, create mood and have function. If someone then likes the combination of light, design and color, the piece has found a home.

Karen Neiuber

Karen was born in San Francisco. She has a BA in art from Cal State Fullerton. After retiring from 40 years in public education as an elementary teacher and District Curriculum Administrator she is using her art background to delve into colors and textures by producing monoprints and ceramic assemblages. She currently resides in the Claremont Village where she shares a studio with her husband, John.

My art is about texture – mixing various textures to form a cohesive whole. Using mosaic, I explore themes ranging from religion to the power of nature by way of the icon. By placing famous symbols next to everyday objects, I transform the well-known images into something wholly unique. It’s not that I’m deeply religious or spiritual; it is by combining prints, tile, ceramics, everyday objects, textiles and metal I create an inventive, sometimes defiant new perspective. Because these altered symbols are approached in new ways, I don’t take them seriously. If there is meaning to be derived from my work, I leave that up to the viewer – since meaning is arrived at differently for every individual.

Neighbor Kid

My name is Christian “Neighbor Kid” Ornelas. I am a 20-year-old artist that resides in Pomona, California. I began to learn to make sculptures when I was 14 under renowned sculptor Dan Romero. Since then I have accomplished many things to better my craft. I graduated from The Fab School in Rancho Cucamonga in 2016, where I became a certified welder and fabricator. I consider myself to be an artist for I am working to better myself and my work. As a creator you are able to do more. You can use your power to build something tremendous.

Dan Romero

Dan Romero is a metal sculptor who primarily works in large public sculptures. These are often kinetic.

What I like about sculpture is that it escapes no form of physics. I mean, it has to stand there all on its own and be art from all sides and all angles. Everything has to actually work if it is a kinetic. It has a purpose for being there, with a job to do. It’s a real thing that should last for centuries in this way.

This work of sculpture requires the full time involvement of Dan and Dina Romero. Their work can be seen at the Google Campus in Venice Beach, Calnetics Corp. (a Mitsubishi subsidiary), Ontario City Hall, Ed Hales Park in Redlands, Ordruff Germany, the Maloof Foundation in Alta Loma, La Verne, and the Orange County Fair.

Exhibition Speaks from Claremont’s Urban Forest

March 20, 2017 (Claremont, CA) – The Claremont Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, Tree Speak: Interpretations of the Rustlings will present visual interpretations, by artists working in the area, which ascend from the concept or image of trees and leaves in nature. The exhibition organized by Rebecca Hamm will open on April 1 with a reception from 6-9:00pm during Art Walk and remain on view through July 23, 2017.

A survey of Claremont’s long history as the City of Trees will be presented by Claremont Heritage.  The city’s tree-planting tradition began in 1907 and many of the Heritage Groves and Landscapes remain today. With trees threatened by drought and disease, the City is seeking ways to preserve our Urban Forest for future generations.

The exhibition will feature artists living in Claremont’s urban forest who have found their voice in nature: Steve Comba, Jeff Faust, Athena H Hahn, Amy Maloof, Barbara Schenck, Steve Schenck, Christopher Toovey, Georgette Unis, Dan Van Clapp and Jane Park Wells plus poetry by Beth Benjamin. Major support is provided by West Coast Arborists with generous additional support from Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP) and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

The Claremont Museum of Art is located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street, just steps away from the Metrolink Station. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4:00pm. Admission is $5 and free for Claremont Museum of Art members and children under 18. The museum is also open from 6 to 8pm on the first Saturday of every month for the Art Walk.

The first Sunday of the every month is Free Family Day with free admission and ARTStation, a place for children to experience art and engage with local culture. High school students in CMA’s Project ARTstART will lead visitors in an art activity related to the current exhibition and the work of local Claremont artists.

More About the Museum

The Claremont Museum of Art was created to celebrate our community’s rich artistic legacy and to promote the cultural vitality of the region. With high hopes, the museum was incorporated in 2004 and was located in the Packing House for two years.

Since 2010, the museum successfully operated as a “museum without walls.” With over 300 members, the volunteer organization continued to hold numerous events and programs and presented ten exhibitions in borrowed spaces. The Padua Hills Art Fiesta has become a popular annual event held every November. Funds raised have supported Project ARTstART, a successful art education program now in its sixth year serving Claremont schools.

Go to www.claremontmuseum.org for more information about the museum, its history and current programs.

Tree Speak Exhibit Press Release [PDF]

ARTStation to feature art-making activities on Free Family Day at the Claremont Museum of Art

ARTStation-collage-PRClaremont, California (January 17, 2017) – The Claremont Museum of Art welcomes the public for Free Family Day from noon to 4:00 pm on Sunday, February 5 with free admission and ARTStation, a place for children to experience art and engage with local culture. High school students in CMA’s Project ARTstART will lead visitors in an art activity related to the current exhibition and the work of local Claremont artists.

Located at the historic Claremont Depot, the Claremont Museum of Art is in the Village at 200 W. First Street, just steps away from the Metrolink Station. The first Sunday of the every month is Free Family Day. Regular hours are Friday through Sunday, noon to 4pm. Admission is $5 and free for Claremont Museum of Art members and children under 18. The museum is also open from 6 to 8pm on the first Saturday of the month for the Art Walk.

The opening exhibition, (re)Generation: Six Decades of Claremont Artists, features selections from the museum’s permanent collection that reflect our region’s rich artistic legacy from the influence of Millard Sheets and the artists who arrived in the 1940s to the GIs who came to study after WWII, to the many contemporary artists who continue to call Claremont home. The exhibition, generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC, will be on view through March 19.

Claremont Museum of Art Recently Opened in the Depot

The Claremont Museum of Art entered into a lease agreement with the City of Claremont for the adaptive reuse of the historic building. Thanks to generous and enthusiastic community support, the Museum raised over $150,000 to complete Phase I of the renovation and opened its doors to an enthusiastic crowd on November 20, 2016.

With its stunning Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, the Depot served as a Santa Fe train station from 1927 to 1967. The former Foothill Transit Ticket Office has been transformed with a second “skin,” so art can be installed on the new walls without harming the original structure.  The elegant Atrium has been polished up with new gallery lights in the chandelier, new paint, and some much needed repair work.

Phase II, will focus on the two most eastern rooms in the building that will require more extensive renovation and will require additional time and resources. The City of Claremont will be partnering with CMA on underwriting Phase II with special grants earmarked specifically for this project.

Claremont’s Rich Artistic Legacy

Art is an enduring part of Claremont’s history and heritage. Known throughout the country as an “art mecca” in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, Claremont remains an important center of artistic activity. Claremont artists are integral to the cultural fabric of the City, having contributed to its unique identity and personality for more than 70 years.

Centered by the Colleges, Claremont emerged as an important art community in the years following World War II. The recently produced film Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-75 reinforced our awareness of the significance of our artistic heritage, a heritage worthy of preservation and presentation to future generations.

Claremont continues to have an active community of artists. Although many artists have homes and studios in neighboring towns, Claremont serves as a hub for area artists in large part because of the presence and reputation of the Claremont Colleges. In the tradition of their predecessors, local artists continue to impact the quality of the social and built environments.

About the Museum

The Claremont Museum of Art was created to celebrate our community’s rich artistic legacy and to promote the cultural vitality of the region. With high hopes, the museum was incorporated in 2004 and was located in the Packing House for two years.

Since 2010, the museum has successfully operated as a “museum without walls.” With over 300 members, the volunteer organization has continued to hold numerous events and programs and has presented ten exhibitions in borrowed spaces. The Padua Hills Art Fiesta has become a popular annual event and studio tours have opened dozens of artists’ studios to the public. Funds raised have supported Project ARTstART, a successful art education program now in its fifth year serving Claremont schools.

The museum currently holds a significant art collection in storage. With a new exhibition space, CMA hopes to expand the collection to truly represent and preserve the artistic legacy of Claremont.

Claremont Museum of Art to Open at the Depot

depot-back_smThanks to generous and enthusiastic community support, the Claremont Museum of Art has raised over $150,000 to renovate and repurpose the Claremont Depot into a jewel of a small museum. Phase I of the renovation is nearing completion and the first exhibition will soon be installed.

The Board of Directors of the Claremont Museum of Art is exceptionally grateful to the Depot Challenge Grant funders and Challenge Match donors for their commitment and generosity to the Phase I renovation of the Claremont Depot. See our complete list of Depot Renovation Fund Donors.

The community is invited to join in celebrating this first big milestone in the transformation of the Claremont Depot on Sunday, November 20, from noon to 4:00 pm at the Depot, 200 W. First Street in Claremont. The opening exhibition, (re)Generation: Six Decades of Claremont Artists will be on view and visitors will enjoy light refreshments and art-making activities led by Project ARTstART students. There will be an official ribbon cutting with the City Council and Chamber of Commerce on Monday, November 21 at 5:30 p.m.

Under the direction of local architect John Bohn and Bob Soderberg of Alchemy Construction the former Foothill Transit Ticket Office has been transformed with a second “skin,” so art can be installed on the new walls without harming the original structure.  The elegant Atrium has been polished up with new gallery lights in the chandelier, new paint, and some much needed repair work. The bathrooms have also been renewed with all new fixtures, paint and new lighting.  The changes are so subtle and ingenious that they mask the incredible amount of time, effort and creativity that went into the renovation.

Phase II will focus on the two most eastern rooms in the building that will require more extensive renovation and will require additional time and resources. The City of Claremont will be partnering with CMA on underwriting Phase II with special grants earmarked specifically for this project.

The opening exhibition, (re)Generation: Six Decades of Claremont Artists, will feature selections from the museum’s permanent collection that reflect our region’s rich artistic legacy from the influence of Millard Sheets and the artists who arrived in the 1940s to the GIs who came to study after WWII, to the many contemporary artists who continue to call Claremont home. The exhibition, generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC, will be on view through March 12, 2017.

The Claremont Museum of Art will be open Friday through Sunday, noon to 4:00pm with free admission through December. The museum will also be open 6-9:00pm the First Saturday of each month for the Art Walk.

Press Release – “Claremont Museum of Art to Open at the Depot” [PDF]

(RE)GENERATION: Six Decades of Claremont Artists

(re)Generation Exhibition

The Claremont Museum of Art’s permanent collection reflects our region’s rich artistic legacy. From the influence of Millard Sheets and the artists who arrived in the 1940s to the GIs who came to study after WWII, to the many contemporary artists who continue to call Claremont home, the collection serves to preserve and retell a rich past and looks to a future with unlimited potential as an arts-rich environment.

Claremont Museum of Art
200 W. First Street at the Claremont Depot
Claremont, CA
November 20, 2016 – March 26, 2017

The exhibition is generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC.

Gould Asset Management

 

The Arts in Claremont

In the years following World War II, the community of Claremont in Southern California emerged as an important center for the visual arts, due in large measure to the inspired efforts of the artist and educator Millard Sheets. In Claremont, painters, sculptors, ceramists, enamel and mosaic artists, woodworkers and fiber artists devoted themselves to their creative pursuits with great imagination and energy, creating works that express the spirit of Postwar Modernism in California.

1930-40s:  Millard Sheets began by creating the art department at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School in the 1930-40s. The generation of teachers included Jean and Arthur Ames, Phil Dike, Henry Lee McFee, William Manker, Albert Stewart and Milford Zornes.

1950-60s: GIs returning from WWII and other students studied at CGS and stayed to make their home or teach in Claremont. This generation of mid-century students includes Karl Benjamin, Paul Darrow, Rupert Deese, Betty Davenport Ford, James Fuller, Susan Hertel, James Hueter, Roger Kuntz, Sam Maloof, Harrison McIntosh, James Strombotne, John Svenson, Martha Underwood and Jack Zajac.

1970-90s: Later generations of students and teachers came to Claremont already well known as a flourishing arts community. This generation includes Barbara Beretich, Aldo Casanova, Steve Comba, Jeff Faust, Crispin Gonzales, Rebecca Hamm, Tom Herberg, Jerome Mahoney, Joella Jean Mahoney, Walter Mix, Roland Reiss, Norma Tanega and Georgette Unis.

CLAREMONT: A CENTER FOR MODERN DESIGN

The three decades following the end of World War II stand out as a golden age in Claremont and the surrounding Pomona Valley. The work created in that time and place gave vibrant physical expression to Southern California’s informal lifestyle, commanding both national and international attention.

American confidence was high, and so too was the desire for the good life promised in the American Dream. After fifteen long years of economic crisis and war, there was enormous pent-up demand for modern housing and well-designed home furnishings. Another important factor was the GI Bill, which allowed large numbers of returning veterans unprecedented access to higher education, including art instruction. The alignment of these factors in the late 1940s and early 1950s set the stage for an explosion in craft production in Southern California—and for Claremont’s emergence as an important center for modern design.

MILLARD SHEETS: ADVOCATE FOR THE ARTS 

Millard Sheets in his Padua Hills studio in the early 1950s. Photo for Life Magazine from Sheets Family Archive.

Millard Sheets in his Padua Hills studio in the early 1950s. Photo for Life Magazine from Sheets Family Archive.

If the conditions were favorable for an artistic boom, a spark was still needed to ignite it. Millard Sheets was at once a painter, a muralist, an architectural designer, a teacher and art administrator, an entrepreneur, and an inspired cheerleader who tirelessly preached the importance of art in daily life. Handsome and energetic, daring and resourceful, he was a passionate ambassador for the arts. Sheets began by creating the art department at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School in the 1930-40s. He went on to develop the Art Department at the Los Angeles County Fair, planned and designed dozens of Home Savings & Loan Association branches throughout California, and became a powerful voice for the arts in the Southland.

Jean Ames
Born in Santa Ana in 1903, Jean Goodwin Ames first studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, and UC Los Angeles. In 1937 she returned to school for a M.F.A. from the University of Southern California where met her husband Arthur Ames as students in Glen Lukens ceramics class. The two joined the mural division of the WPA in 1937 and were among the first to use mosaics in California. In 1940, Millard Sheets appointed Jean to the faculty at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School. She was the first Professor of Drawing and Design and taught until 1969.
This husband and wife team produced paintings, sculpture, prints, ceramics, enamels, tapestries, murals, mosaics and tile decorations throughout their long and richly productive careers. Jean’s subjects were often whimsical and her style influenced by Scandinavian design, which was popular at the time. They were both inspiring teachers and lived in the Padua Hills. She was the recipient of numerous awards, and was selected as Woman of the Year in Art by the Los Angeles Times in 1958. Her work can be seen around the Scripps College campus, including the Dance of Destiny tapestry triptych by Jean and Arthur Ames in the lobby of the Garrison Theatre.

Bennett Bean
Born in 1941, Bennet Bean grew up in Iowa City and received his B.A. from the University of Iowa in 1963. Bean moved to California to continue his art studies at the Claremont Graduate School. At Claremont, he studied under Paul Soldner and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1966. Bean also met and married fellow Claremont graduate student (of philosophy), Cathy Bao. After graduation, Bean accepted a position teaching ceramics at Wagner College on Staten Island in New York City, where he tried his hand at minimalist sculpture, using acrylic glass and cast acrylic.
Bennett Bean is best known for his pit fired white earthenware vessels, especially his collectible, non-functional bowls and teapots. His influences have included Japanese pottery, Native American pottery, English pottery in the tradition of Bernard Leach, and modern American pottery, including the work of George Ohr. An independent studio artist since 1979, Bean refocused his work on ceramic vessels. He resides in Blairstown, New Jersey.

Karl Benjamin
Born in 1925 in Chicago, Karl Benjamin, like most artists of his generation, served in the Navy in WWII and afterwards moved to California. By 1949 he had graduated from the University of Redlands and begun a 28-year career in elementary and high school teaching in Bloomington and Chino. His teaching led to an interest in art and in 1952, he moved to Claremont with his family.
In 1960 he received his M.A. from the Claremont Graduate School. By this time he had chosen painting as his medium and from his first Cubist inspired landscapes he moved quickly to the hard edged explorations of line and vibrant color for which he has become famous. From 1979 to 1994 Karl held the position of Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Art at Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University. His work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y., Los Angeles County Museum, MOCA, Los Angeles; MOMA San Francisco among others. He died in 2012 at his home in Claremont.

Barbara Beretich
Barbara Beretich was born in 1936 in Chicago, Illinois. Her family moved often and Barbara spent parts of her childhood in Chicago, San Diego, and Ohio. She received her BFA from the University of Illinois in 1958. After graduation, Beretich took a trip to Europe, where she befriended French artist Francoise Gilot, beginning a lifelong friendship that would lead to many other artist relationships and would allow Barbara to arrange over 100 exhibits through the years.
From 1962 to 1965, Beretich attended the Claremont Graduate University, earning her M.F.A. in sculpture. There she met Millard Sheets, who would become a life-long mentor. She did Independent Study in Paris, 1966-67, and in Italy, 1984 to 1988, with a concentration on bronze casting. Beretich makes her way in both painting and sculpture with numerous commissions for portrait or architectural studies.

Sculpture is for Beretich a means of expressing compassion, grief, or torment over serious issues such as evoked in her Moses/Christ piece which speaks of the Arab-Israeli conflict. But Beretich has a lighthearted side as well. She introduces her favorite cat, Coco, as her curator. Bronze cats or real cats, they are everywhere, and playful mermaid figures, too, that express her sense of humor.

From 1973 to 1978, Barbara served as the director of Gallery 8 in Claremont, which showcased numerous Claremont artists. From 1978 to the present, Barbara has run Galleria Beretich from her Claremont home, where her love and passion of Claremont art comes alive.

Aldo Casanova
The son of Italian immigrants, Aldo Casanova was born in San Francisco in 1929. He received his Bachelor and Master degrees at San Francisco State University and earned his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. While finishing his doctorate, Casanova won the prestigious Prix-de-Rome Prize, a fellowship that enabled him to work at the American Academy in Rome. He taught at Scripps College for 33 years, from 1966 through 1999.

Casanova once commented that his sculpture is a direct response to the world around him. “I’m from California and I have all this natural beauty around me . . . It’s wonderful and beautiful! Regrettably, I also see the destruction of the environment by man. I comment on the condition of the planet, politically and environmentally, through my work.”
In 1992, he was elected to the National Academy of Design, and in 1994, designated a fellow of the National Sculpture Society. Casanova’s work is held in numerous private and public collections and in museums such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the National Academy of Design, New York. Locally, his work can be seen in the Franklin Murphy Sculpture garden at UC Los Angeles., at The Huntington, and on the Scripps campus. He died in 2014.

Rupert Deese
Born in 1924 in Guam, Rupert Deese received a B.A. from Pomona College in 1950 and an M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate School in 1957. He studied ceramics with Richard Petterson and sculpture with Albert Stewart. From 1958 to 2005 Deese produced his perfectly smooth, functional pottery pieces using a palette of earth tones- browns, blues and pale greens. He shared a studio with Harrison McIntosh in Padua Hills for over 60 years.
Deese taught ceramics for many years at Mt. San Antonio College. From 1964 to 1983 he was a designer for Franciscan dinnerware, glassware and flatware, creating the best-selling Madeira pattern. His pieces are in several museum collections including the Mingei in San Diego, L.A. County Museum, the Renwick Gallery in Washington and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He died in 2010 at his home in Claremont.

Phil Dike
Phil Dike was born in 1906 in Redlands and studied art at Chouinard in Los Angeles in the early 20s. There he met Millard Sheets and shared a downtown studio with him. Dike developed an Impressionist style and preferred painting outdoors directly on canvas. After a stay in New York and studies in Europe he returned to Los Angeles, married artist Betty Love Woodward in 1933 and became color coordinator and story designer for Walt Disney Studios. He worked there until the end of World War 11 and was involved in the production of the animated classics Snow White and Fantasia.

He had become a major figure in the Regionalist movement, was elected to the California Water Color Society and became even closer to Sheets, Emil Kosa Jr. and Rex Brandt. His love of the ocean as a subject was clear during the years he and Rex Brandt conducted the Brandt-Dike Summer School painting course at Brandt’s home in Corona Del Mar (1947-1955.) In 1951 Sheets brought Dike to Claremont to teach advanced painting at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School where he taught for 20 years, retiring in 1971. He died in 1990.

Rebecca Hamm
Born in Claremont in 1961, Rebecca Hamm received her B.A. from California Polytechnic University, Pomona and her M.F.A. from the Claremont Graduate University. Exhibitions of her art work include solo shows at Los Angeles City College, the Claremont Museum of Art, the Ontario Museum of Art and History, the Huntington Beach Art Center, the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard and the University of Houston, Texas.

Rebecca teaches with many local universities and is currently a Lecturer at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her writings on Creativity and Inclusive Arts have been published internationally and she speaks for many groups, universities and organizations both locally and nationally. Rebecca has presented for TedX and creates private and public art and creativity workshops. She was recently honored by Senator Carol Liu as “Woman of the Year” for 2015 in the 25th senatorial district of California.

As Director of Arts and Enterprise for the Tierra del Sol Foundation, Rebecca leads the progressive studio programs where more than 100 individuals develop professional careers in the arts through First Street Gallery Art Center in Claremont and Sunland Studio Arts in Sunland, California.

Norm Hines
Born in New York City in 1938, Norm Hines attended The Gunnery School in Washington, Connecticut. An acclaimed athlete in his youth, Hines graduated from Pomona College in 1957. Inspired by a ceramics class taught by Paul Soldner, he went on to earn an M.F.A. from the Claremont Graduate School. He returned to Pomona College as an administrator, started a ceramics program in the 1970s, taught sculpture and chaired the art department twice. A Pomona College news article describes him as “a superb teacher and mentor, he touched the lives of generations of students, many of whom remained close to him throughout his life.”
He was also a prolific artist and his ceramics, marble and granite carvings, kinetic metal sculptures, bronze life-cast fruits and vegetables are represented in numerous collections. Large works include “In the Spirit of Excellence” on the Pomona College campus and “Caelum Moor”, a five-acre, park-like environment containing five sets of granite megaliths in Arlington, Texas. Along with an extraordinary body of work, his legacy is celebrated in the state-of-the-art Norm Hines Sculpture Studio at Pomona College. He passed away in 2016.

James Hueter
Born in San Francisco in 1925, James Hueter came to Claremont in the 1940s to attend Pomona College. He served in the army during the Second World War and returned to complete his B.A. at Pomona and M.F.A. at the Claremont Graduate School. Here Albert Stewart, and especially Henry Lee McFee nourished his interests in sculpture, architecture, design, and painting. The camaraderie of artists like Karl Benjamin, Paul Darrow, Roger Kuntz and Doug McClellan kept him in Claremont. He built his mid-century modern house and studio in an undeveloped area of Claremont where he still lives.

His first work was in landscape painting then he began to paint the human figure and especially the human face and eyes. Through the decades he added new materials to his oil paintings- mirrors and carved wood among others. His latest work, which he refers to as “sculptural paintings,” is a series of large wall pieces in relief, intricately constructed with carved wood, etched glass, mirrors and paint.

In an LA Weekly article, J. Ellenburg describes his work: “Hueter’s synthesis reflects his constant fascination with architecture and the human figure. His latest pieces instantly draw the viewer into perceptual mysteries. The effect is akin to looking into a hall of mirrors, with refracted imagery and harmonious color enticing you to further explore their eerie, illusory space.” Known to his peers and friends as “an artist’s artist,” he has exhibited throughout the United States and is a Professor Emeritus at Claremont Graduate University.

Joella Jean Mahoney
Born in Chicago in 1933, Joella Jean Mahoney has been a committed artist since early childhood. She recalls “At age three I experienced a powerful connection between myself and nature. I wanted to share this wonder at being alive with my parents and brothers. I could not yet explain wonder and awe in words, but I could through painting and drawing. So, I began serious art making and have never stopped.”

Mahoney is Professor of Art Emerita, University of La Verne where she began developing the art department in 1964. She holds a B.A. in Art from Northern Arizona University and an M.F.A. in painting from Claremont Graduate University (’65).

The canyons of the Colorado Plateau have become the major motif of her dramatic landscapes with their monumental scale of work and vision. Mahoney’s distinctive style bridges realism and abstraction. She lives in Sedona where she does the preparation for her landscapes by painting small, realistic works on location, during hiking and back packing trips in the Southwest. Back in her studio, she invents the big work in oil; not referencing the small works and never the photographs.

She has had retrospective exhibitions at Claremont Graduate University, Northern Arizona University Museum, the West Valley Museum in Phoenix, and a recent 50 year retrospective at the University of La Verne. Her canvases are known internationally via the US Art-in-Embassies Program.

Sam Maloof
Born in 1916 in Chino, Sam Maloof spoke Spanish and Arabic before he learned English. His interest in art and woodworking started early and in high school he took classes in mechanical drawing and simple carpentry. He graduated in 1934 and found work as a graphic artist. After serving in the army from 1941 to 1945, he worked as an assistant to Millard Sheets and often visited the Scripps art department. It was here that he met his wife Alfreda who had spent eight years teaching arts and crafts on Indian reservations in the Southwest. She introduced him to Native American art and together they became part of the artists’ colony in Claremont nurtured by the Claremont Colleges.

In 1953 they bought a “dingbat” bungalow in a lemon grove in Alta Loma. He transformed it into a timbered 22-room house with the handmade chairs, tables and cabinets such as he was beginning to sell. His contemporary design and use of beautiful woods have given his pieces a timeless quality.

His work is in several major American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the White House Craft Collection. In 1985 he was named a MacArthur Fellow and was described by the Smithsonian Institution as “America’s most renowned contemporary furniture craftsman”. His house in Alta Loma is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open for tours. He died at his home in 2009.

William Manker
Born in Upland in 1902, William Manker studied art at Chouinard School. He began as a designer with Ernest Batchelder, one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement in California. In 1932 he opened his own business William Manker Ceramics of low-fire cast ceramics that he sold to regional stores and galleries. Manker began the ceramics department at Scripps College in 1935. Soon after he opened a second studio with a large kiln at Padua Hills where he produced cast pieces and wheel-thrown work until 1948. Inspired by Asian ceramics in the 1930s, Manker created elegant and refined forms with colorful glazes. During the next decade he simplified his shapes and enriched his color, exploring ox-blood and copper reduction red glazes.
Manker taught at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate School from 1940-45 and organized the first pottery exhibitions at Lang Gallery that evolved into the Scripps Ceramic Annual that continues today. He served as Vice-President of the Design Division of the American Ceramic Society, a color consultant to House Beautiful Magazine and was chairman of the California Color Society. He lived in St. Helena, California until his death in 1997.

Harrison McIntosh
Born in Vallejo in 1914, Harrison McIntosh’s family moved to Stockton where he and his brother Robert first studied art. After moving to Los Angeles in 1937, the turning point in his career came when he took a ceramics class at the University of Southern California with Glen Lukens, the premiere artist in this medium. After the war, Harrison came to study at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School with Richard Petterson. He decided to stay in Claremont and build his house in the Padua Hills because as he put it: “This is the best place in the world.” For sixty years he shared a studio with fellow potter Rupert Deese.

An internationally known ceramicist, McIntosh’s work defined California design at mid-century, His long career spanned eight decades from his modern approach to classical vessel forms in the 1950s to his work in sculptural spheres floating on geometric chrome forms. Strong sensual shapes are often enhanced by distinctive surface decoration of thin sgrafitto lines or rhythmic brush spots. His serenely elegant stoneware vessels and sculptures are in museums all over the world including the LA County Museum, Mingei Museum in Japan, the Louvre in Paris and the Smithsonian. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 101.

Roland Reiss
Born in 1929 in Chicago, Roland Reiss is a painter and sculptor who has exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad. He received his B.A. from the University of Southern California and his M.F.A. from UC Los Angeles in 1957.
Before coming to Claremont, he taught painting and drawing at the University of California, Los Angeles and at the University of Colorado. At Claremont Graduate University he was Chair of the Art Department for 29 years and Benezet Professor of the Humanities. He also served as Director of the Center for the Arts and Director of “Paintings Edge”, an advanced program in painting for Idyllwild Arts.

Since 1992, Reiss has concentrated exclusively on abstract painting. His work has been seen at the Whitney Museum of American Art and at Documenta in Kassel, Germany. Exhibitions include museums in Brazil, Mexico, China, Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan and Taiwan. He is the recipient of four N.E.A. grants and of more than forty prizes and awards. His work is located in many public, corporate and private collections.

Millard Sheets
Born in 1907 on a ranch in Pomona, Millard Sheets showed early promise as an artist and attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. There he became accomplished in many media – painting, printmaking, mural painting and architectural design. An early trip to Europe introduced him to German Expressionism and Turner’s watercolors. At stops in New York’s museums he was most impressed by Winslow Homer’s watercolors and Thomas Hart Benton’s America Today murals. The other lasting impact on his art was the work of the Mexican Muralists and in 1932 he was an apprentice to David Alfaro Siquerios. His interest in Regionalism produced paintings of rural California as well as scenes of Los Angeles in the Depression.

In 1930 he arrived to develop the fledgling art department at Scripps College and form the Graduate art program. Under his leadership, Claremont became a significant artistic center. He built his house in the Padua Hills where so many of his artist friends lived.

The war years saw him designing flight-training schools and working as an artist-correspondent for Life magazine where he painted many scenes of India and Burma. After the war he returned to Scripps and the Claremont Graduate School to mentor returning GIs in their art careers. Many of these young men and women were drawn to the Abstract Expressionism and while it was not Sheet’s preferred style he encouraged them. Sheets was put in charge of the Fine Arts program at the L.A. County Fair in the early fifties and his students were put to work preparing the galleries and often being shown there. In 1953 Sheet’s became the director of the new Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles but he maintained his studio in Claremont. Here he designed many of the Home Federal Savings Banks with their stunning mosaic murals and worked with many architects on other projects. He retired to northern California where he died in 1989.

Paul Soldner
Born in 1929 in Summerville, Illinois, Paul Soldner became one of the most influential ceramic artists in America. In 1954 he became the first graduate student to enroll in what is now Otis College of Art and Design, which was headed by Millard Sheets. There he worked under the pioneering and highly experimental ceramist Peter Voulkos.

Soldner taught at Scripps College from 1957 to 1991 and curated the annual ceramics exhibitions. His openness to the creative accident led him to the “discovery” of American Raku and his innovation of “low-temperature salt fuming.” In the 1960s, while living in Aspen, he co-founded Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado. For many years he split his years between Aspen and Claremont. Soldner died at his home in Claremont in 2011.

Albert Stewart
Albert Stewart was born in England in 1900 but moved to the United States at age seven. Stewart began his artistic career in New York where he studied with Paul Manship at the Beaux Art Institute and became a follower of the archaic movement – sculptures with simplified, refined even elongated forms and animal statuary. Early on he received several commissions for monumental architectural pieces, including the pediment sculpture for the newly formed Department of Labor in Washington D.C. In 1939 Albert and Marion Stewart were married and moved to Claremont to take up positions in the Scripps College Art Department under Millard Sheets.

When they came to Scripps, Stewart took a traditional approach to sculpture, emphasizing anatomy and working from a live model. His students included Roger Kuntz, Paul Darrow, Doug McClellan and John Svenson with whom he later collaborated. Marion was appointed Lecturer in Weaving at Scripps, a position. They both retired from Scripps College in 1971 and continued to live in their Padua Hills home. Albert died in 1965 and Marion continued to give weaving classes in her home until she passed away in 2004 at the age of nearly 100.

James Strombotne
Born in South Dakota in 1934, but was raised and educated in Southern California, James Strombotne received his B.A. from Pomona College in 1956 and his M.F.A. from the Claremont Graduate School in 1959. But Strombotne moved away from the still lifes, landscapes and even abstractions of his Claremont colleagues. His paintings are explorations of his interior life in stark, strong images.

He received a fellowship from Pomona College to study in Italy, and in 1962 was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for further study in Rome. He went on to teach for 40 years at the University of California, Riverside. He retired in 2005 and continues to draw and paint every day.
Strombotne has had over seventy five one-man shows, with twelve retrospectives: four in New York City, twenty-two in Los Angeles, and others in San Francisco, Washington D.C., Santa Barbara, Santa Fe, Newport Beach, and other venues. His work has also been included in many major group shows including two Whitney Biennials, the Carnegie International and the Corcoran Biennial. His work is in over 30 major museums including MOMA, the Smithsonian. LACMA, the Hirshhorn and the Whitney.

John Svenson
Born in Los Angeles in 1923, John Svenson grew up on a citrus grove in the Pomona Valley. After WWII, the GI Bill allowed him to study at the Claremont Graduate School with sculptor Albert Stewart and under Millard Sheet’s influence he became interested in public art.
His work in wood may be best known but he became adept in a multitude of mediums and moved into the field of medallions and relief sculpture. This encouraged architectural commissions that became an important part of his work. During his prolific career, Svenson produced over 23 sculptures for Home Savings and Loan banks and many public works in California and Alaska. He created over 100 sculptures in bronze, wood or stone for schools, banks, hotels, corporations and parks, many with historical themes. His sculpture Ranchero carved, on-site, from a 22-foot log of redwood for the 1953 Los Angeles County Fair still watches over the Fairplex.

His sculptures and medallic work are held in numerous public and private collections. Mentors Albert Stewart and Paul Manship nominated Svenson to the National Sculpture Society in 1966 and he advanced to “Fellow” in 1971. He has twice been awarded the AIA award for excellence in sculpture. Svenson passed away in 2016.

Martha Underwood
Born in Quincy Illinois in 1934, Martha Menke Underwood lived in many places in her early years. Her travels instilled her with a lifelong love of adventure. The daughter of a painter, she studied at Scripps College, Otis Art Institute and Claremont Graduate School in the 1950s and went on to design and produce murals for Millard Sheets for many years. She is best known for her watercolor paintings. An art professor at Chaffey College for 20 years, she remained active in the Claremont art community throughout her life. She died at her home in Claremont in 2012.

Milford Zornes
Born in the panhandle of Oklahoma in 1908, Milford Zornes was known early on as “the kid who could draw.” After moving to California, Zornes attended Pomona College and began his career in watercolor and during the Depression painted a large number of works for the WPA. Locally his most famous work is the mural in the Claremont Post Office of the area in the 1930s.
He became President of the California Watercolor Society and in 1943 was drafted into the Army/Air Force as a war artist in China, Burma and India until 1945. He became an art professor at Pomona College and then worked for the Air Force in Thule, Greenland where he produced a collection of paintings. Back in Claremont in the 1950s, he became the Art Director for the Padua Hills Theatre, where he arranged shows in the lobby for many local and regional artists. He had become a leader of the California watercolor movement and mentor to dozens of younger artists.
In 1963 Milford and his wife Pat bought the artist Maynard Dixon’s estate in Southern Utah but maintained an apartment at an adobe in Pomona. Through these years he held workshops and painting trips all over the world. His work is in countless collections and museums and had a painting selected by Eleanor Roosevelt for the White House. During the 1980s he developed macular degeneration but continued to paint full time even with limited vision. In 1999 the couple moved back to Claremont where he died in 2008 at the age of 100.

Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Focus on Midcentury Art and Architecture in Claremont

AF2016 promopanel

Updated October 27, 2016 (Claremont, CA) – The Claremont Museum of Art will host the 13th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 6 with an outdoor art show, art and craft demonstrations and music under the shady olive trees of the beautiful Padua Hills Theatre.  A preview of the recently produced film Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury will be shown throughout the day accompanied by an exhibition produced by Claremont Heritage.

  • Sunday, November 6, 11 am to 4 pm at the Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for Claremont Museum of Art and Claremont Heritage members. Children under 18 are free.
  • Twenty five area artists will display and sell their paintings, prints, ceramics, glass, sculpture, textiles and jewelry. Area art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations.
  • A 20-minute preview of the new documentary film Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury will be shown throughout the day accompanied by an informative exhibition produced by Claremont Heritage.
  • ARTstART students will lead children in creative Art Activities. A Music Stage will feature local performers. Festive foods will be served with traditional Jamaica punch and fresh lemonade.

The Padua Hills Art Fiesta originated in 1953 for local artists to bring art into the community. The studio art movement that flourished here in the 1950s centered on the use of natural materials and traditional sensibilities – watercolor, pottery, woodworking, sculpture in stone, bronze and ceramic, mosaic, textiles as well as painting. Visitors came from miles around to meet the artists and watch “art in action” at the popular festival. In 2011, the Claremont Museum of Art revived this tradition with a new generation of artists sharing their talents.

THE ARTISTS

The outdoor art show will feature twenty-five area artists showing their work under a grove of shady olive trees. New artwork this year will include woodworking by Hal Metlizky; ceramics by Kristen Erickson and T. and Jon Pacini; weaving by Patricia Hinds; and paintings by Jackie Knell, Roz McMillan and Dee Small.

And visitors will find many favorite returning artists: Paul Brayton, Sumi Foley, Sandy Garcia, Rebecca Hamm, Kathryn Herrman, Mike Hill, David Holzberger, Aleta Jacobson, Sherry Marger, Kathleen, Jerry Owens, Kazumi Kobayashi Svenson, Gaby Tepper, Barry Vantiger, Ahlene Welsh, Jan Wheatcroft, Maureen Wheeler and Larry White.

“Art in Action” can be found on the hillside terrace provided by Chaffey Community Museum of Art, Alba Cisneros, The Clay Yard, dA Center for the Arts and Maloof Woodworkers.  Art-making activities will be led by Project ARTstART students.

MUSIC, FOOD & SPONSORS

Music performances will be provided by Gloria Cangahuala and Anne Sherrill of Claremont Symphony Orchestra, Stefan Pajaro-van de Stadt with Aviva Mann, Silver Tree with Jessie Lyn and Kyle Thompson,  and David Hostetler. Tacos will be served by El Merendero along with Bert & Rocky’s ice cream and traditional Jamaica punch and fresh lemonade.

Special thanks to Art Fiesta sponsors Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty and Ryan Zimmerman, Broker Associate, Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty. And thanks to Scout Troop 407 for their invaluable helping hands.

THE EXHIBTION + FILM

Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury

Postwar Claremont: A Center of Modern Design and Architecture

With the development of substantial art programs at the Claremont Colleges, spearheaded by the artist and educator Millard Sheets, Claremont attracted a large number of artists in the years following World War II. Painters, sculptors, ceramists, muralists and mosaic artists, architects and designers shared ideas and forged close friendships. With a cultural climate that was conducive to the integration of art, craft, and architecture, Claremont became an important center of Midcentury Modern design.

Persons associated with the Claremont Colleges and art community were highly receptive to modern trends in architecture, and many of them engaged the services of local architects to create houses and other structures suited to the informal, nature-oriented lifestyle of Southern California.

The Exhibition

To record and interpret this important chapter in the cultural history of Claremont and Southern California, Claremont Heritage Executive Director, David Shearer has curated an exhibition entitled Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury.

The exhibition will chronicle the efforts of forward-looking architects, artists and designers to create living environments suited to the physical and cultural landscape of Claremont and Southern California. It will capture the full sweep of the area’s rich architectural heritage, from early expressions of modern thinking, as seen in the 1903 Mary Darling House by Greene & Greene, through the residential housing boom of the postwar period, to institutional and commercial projects that advanced modern ideas in architecture and design, including Millard Sheets’ historic local projects including: Garrison Theater, Pomona First Federal Bank and Sheets Studio.

The exhibition will feature archival imagery including photographs and drawings of architectural projects that integrated art into the design. Architects featured include: Millard Sheets, S. David Underwood, Rufus Turner, Foster Rhodes Jackson, Criley & McDowell, Edward Durell Stone and more. Work by Claremont artists will show the influence of the architecture and their perspectives on modern design. They include Millard Sheets Studio, Harrison McIntosh, Paul Darrow, and Betty Davenport Ford among others.

The Film

The 90-minute documentary film Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury, is a companion piece to Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935 – 1975, a film produced in 2014 by filmmaker Paul Bockhorst in partnership with the Claremont Museum of Art. Claremont Modern expands the scholarship and examines the regional influences that helped to establish a unique chapter in the annals of Modernism. A 20-minute preview of the film will be shown throughout the day of the Art Fiesta.

The documentary is produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Bockhorst, in cooperation with Claremont Heritage. A veteran writer, producer, and director, Bockhorst has produced dozens of programs that have appeared on PBS, NBC, ABC, Turner Broadcasting, and the Disney Channel. He recently received an Honorary AIA Award for his many documentaries on art and architecture.

Principal funding for Claremont Modern was generously provided by The Ahmanson Foundation, Andy and Blenda Wright, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, and Brent Harris.

Press Release – “Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Focus on Midcentury Art and Architecture in Claremont” [PDF]