CLAREMONT MODERN: The Fiesta Artists of Padua Hills, 1953-1959

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Nov 18-Dec 18, 2011

The Claremont Museum of Art recreated the Padua Hills Art Fiesta held annually from 1953 through 1959. It featured an outdoor art fair with invited artists selling their work, art and craft demonstrations, folk music, festival foods and an indoor display of historic photos, documents and artwork. In conjunction with this event, an exhibition with artworks by the original Fiesta artists was presented in the Ginger Elliot gallery.

Milford Zornes was the Director of the Padua Hills Art Institute in the 1950s and initiated the popular Art Fiesta. His daughter Maria Zornes Baker curated the Fiesta Artists exhibition. Living artists who participated in the 1950s are: Karl Benjamin, Paul Darrow, Betty Davenport Ford, James Hueter, Doug McClellan, Harrison McIntosh, James Strombotne, John Svenson and Jack Zajac. Sioux Bally-Maloof  produced a series of photographic portraits of these remaining Fiesta artists. Historic material and artwork from the families of Rupert Deese, Phil Dike, Carl and Sue Hertel, Roger Kuntz, Sam Maloof, Walter Mix, Hildred Reents, Millard Sheets, Paul Soldner, Albert Stewart, Melvin Wood, Robert Wood, Milford Zornes and others are included.

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. Distinctions between art and craft were fundamentally ignored. The openness of the land and the free-thinking spirit of the times allowed Claremont artists to flourish. Here they developed a Modern aesthetic with a craftsman influence.

Celebrating the artists and craftsmen of Claremont’s first art festival

November 18-December 18, 2011 (weekends) at the Ginger Elliot Exhibition Center at Garner House, 840 N. Indian Hill Boulevard, Claremont

One of a series of exhibitions produced by the Claremont Museum of Art and Claremont Heritage.

Inspired by Getty’s Pacific Standard Time, CLAREMONT MODERN focuses on the artistic vibrancy of Claremont at mid-century.

First held in 1953, the Padua Hills Art Fiesta was organized by 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.