HANOVER, NH.- In celebration of a recent gift from Hanover resident Philip H. Greene of thirteen watercolors by California-based artists, the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth presents Coastline to Skyline: The Philip H. Greene Gift of California Watercolors, 1930--1960. On view through January 4, 2009, this exhibition highlights the work of mostly southern-California artists who made up an informal but close-knit group from the late 1920s through the 1950s. These artists achieved national recognition for their generally large-scale watercolors painted in a manner that was bold and expressive, yet still representational. Their colorful saturated washes, highlighted by areas of exposed white paper, suggest the brilliant California sunshine that allowed them to paint outdoors all year long. The exhibition features works by several of the best-known figures associated with the group, including Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Rex Brandt, Barse Miller, Emil Kosa Jr, and, from northern California, Dong Kingman. In conjunction with the exhibition, other California-based works of the same era from the Hood's collection, ranging from additional watercolors to Hollywood photographs and production drawings for Walt Disney's "Pinocchio," will also be on display.
Just as their regionalist contemporaries Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton revealed everyday life in the rural Midwest, the California-style watercolorists captured their own West-Coast traditions, depicting the state's dramatic coastline and desert, agricultural and fishing traditions, public amusements, and gleaming new skylines. While some artists seem to pay homage to a way of life that was disappearing in the face of urbanization, others convey their excitement for the changing landscape. In keeping with the populist mood of the era, all of them depicted recognizably American subjects that transcended regional content and appealed to audiences from coast-to-coast.
This exhibition was organized by the Hood Museum of Art and generously supported by the Bernard R. Siskind 1955 Fund and the Hansen Family Fund. Exhibition catalogues can be found in the Hood Museum Shop or by calling (603) 646-2317.