Niki de Saint Phalle’s Grande Step Totem.

One fantastic sculpture by renowned French-American sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle presently stands at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Those who pass by the cultural center on their way up North Escondido Boulevard can’t fail to miss it.

I stopped by to have a look at the monumental sculpture, which is titled Grande Step Totem.

A plaque near its base is weathered and cracked and is difficult to read now. I’ve tried to transcribe the English portion of it accurately:

Grande Step Totem

Based in Native American spirituality, Saint Phalle’s Totem is more solemn than much of her work. With a muted color palette and subject matter, this piece encourages introspection. The Totem returned to Escondido on December 19, 2012 after spending the summer on view with several other Saint Phalle pieces on Park Avenue in New York City.

NIKI DE SAINT PHALLE

2001

Polyurethane foam resin, steel armature, ceramic tiles, stained glass, tumbled stone.

As you can see, some construction work was being done around the base of the sculpture when I visited last weekend. Here are my photos…

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Compacting sand for world-class sculptures!

This morning sand is being compacted in wooden forms on the Broadway Pier. That means Labor Day weekend can’t be very far away, along with the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge!

During this annual festival, fine art will be created by some of the world’s top sand sculptors inside the pier’s Port Pavilion. Meanwhile, I was told that the carving of several sponsored sand sculptures outdoors on the pier begins tomorrow!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter

World-famous fine art inside the Coronado Library.

Rear view of Mourning Woman, 1966, the last sculpture by Donal Hord, which now is displayed in the Coronado Public Library.
Rear view of Mourning Woman, 1966. This last sculpture by Donal Hord is now displayed inside the Coronado Public Library.

Displayed inside the Coronado Library are many beautiful works of art. Several of these works are important pieces by internationally famous artists.

The two world-renowned artists are Donal Hord and Alfredo Ramos Martinez.

Donal Hord’s iconic sculptures can be found in various places around San Diego. He was one of the artists who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1949.

Alfredo Ramos Martínez is considered to be the Father of Mexican Modernism. He served as the Director of the National Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City. He was founder of the Open Air (Aire Libre) School of Painting in Mexico. His students included Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueros, and Rufino Tamayo.

I took these photographs a couple weeks ago during a visit to Coronado.

You can learn more about the history of these amazing pieces and other artwork in the library here.

Donal Hord's granite sculpture Mourning Woman stands in the Coronado Library's Spreckels Reading Room. It took ten months to complete.
Donal Hord’s granite sculpture Mourning Woman stands in the Coronado Library’s Spreckels Reading Room. It took ten months to complete.
Tapestry designed by Donal Hord titled Earth Mother or Fruits of the Earth. Woven by Marian Kendall, U. Kelley, and F. Manchester in 1939.
Tapestry designed by Donal Hord titled Earth Mother or Fruits of the Earth. Woven by Marian Kendall, U. Kelley, and F. Manchester in 1939.
Canasta de Flores, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. The mural, painted for the La Avenida Café, is now located inside the Coronado Public Library.
Canasta de Flores, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. The mural, painted for the La Avenida Café, is now located inside the Coronado Public Library.
El Dia del Mercado, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. Fresco originally located at the La Avenida Café, now behind the front desk of the Coronado Library.
El Dia del Mercado, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. Fresco originally located at the La Avenida Café, now behind the front desk of the Coronado Library.
Section of fine art mural El Dia del Mercado by Alfredo Ramos Martínez inside the Coronado Library.
Section of fine art mural El Dia del Mercado by Alfredo Ramos Martínez.

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Photos of Donal Hord’s sculpture Spring Stirring.

During my walk through the Scripps Institute of Oceanography on Saturday, I paused in the grassy area just north of the Judith and Walter Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Munk Laboratory to admire an amazing sculpture by Donal Hord.

Spring Stirring, 1947-1948, was carved from black diorite and stands 46 inches tall. It was exhibited in 1949 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Third Sculpture International. In 1964, Spring Stirring was given to the University of California’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography by Cecil and Ida Green.

Donal Hord, who achieved worldwide fame for his fine sculptures, developed a deep love for San Diego. He lived most of his life here. Today some of his most important pieces endure as public art around San Diego.

To see the sculpture for yourself (and some fantastic coastal scenery in La Jolla) follow in my footsteps and take a short walk here.

You can find many photographs of Donal Hord’s public sculptures and reliefs by putting his name in the search box on this blog.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Beaumont’s naval Art of the Sea in San Diego.

Planes Roar Into Action from the U.S. Aircraft Carriers Wasp and Enterprise, watercolor, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Planes Roar Into Action from the U.S. Aircraft Carriers Wasp and Enterprise, watercolor, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.

An extraordinary exhibition of work by one of America’s greatest artists is now on display at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Art of the Sea collects many iconic works by Arthur Beaumont (1890-1978), renowned for his wartime commissions for National Geographic Magazine, and for being named by the U.S. Navy the Artist Laureate of the Fleet in 1958.

Arthur Beaumont’s dramatic paintings not only depict massive warships in action at sea, but ships of every type in locations around the world, and diverse landscapes painted from his travels and rich personal experience.

As a young man Beaumont worked on a ranch in Canada, where he developed his love for sketching and painting. He moved to California and became a ranch hand in the San Joaquin Valley; he then later lived in Los Angeles, working as an artist. His fine portraits were noticed by the U.S. Navy, for whom he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He eventually became America’s foremost military artist. His dramatic paintings record important aspects our nation’s history through many decades.

My poor yellowish photographs in the softly lit Gould Eddy Gallery hardly do justice to the dynamic, brilliantly colorful paintings you’ll experience in this world-class exhibition. Over the years, the Maritime Museum of San Diego has featured some very important artwork, including a breathtaking collection of works by James E. Buttersworth, but this might be my favorite so far!

If you love fine art, or military history, or the sweep of American and world history in general, you must not miss Art of the Sea. After you check out these amazing paintings, stretch your legs and enjoy the many historic ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, rated one of the very best maritime museums in the world!

Extraordinary paintings by famed artist Arthur Beaumont fill the Gould Eddy Gallery in the Steam Ferry Berkeley, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Dozens of extraordinary paintings by famed artist Arthur Beaumont fill the Gould Eddy Gallery in the Steam Ferry Berkeley, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Sign describes the life and work of Arthur E. Beaumont, named by the Navy the Artist Laureate of the U.S. Fleet in 1958. He is also known for his wartime commissions for National Geographic Magazine.
Sign describes the life and work of Arthur E. Beaumont, named by the Navy the Artist Laureate of the U.S. Fleet in 1958. He is also known for his wartime commissions for National Geographic Magazine.
A painting of a California Mission, watercolor on paper, 1949. The Irvine Museum Collection.
A painting of a California Mission, watercolor on paper, 1949. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Cowboy at the Corral Lassoing a Steer, oil, 1929. The Bowers Museum.
Cowboy at the Corral Lassoing a Steer, oil, 1929. The Bowers Museum.
John Paul Jones on the USS Ranger, July 4, 1777, pen and ink, 1934. The Stuart Bourdon Collection.
John Paul Jones on the USS Ranger, July 4, 1777, pen and ink, 1934. The Stuart Bourdon Collection.
Portrait of Admiral William D. Leahy, oil on canvas, 1936. U.S. Naval Academy Museum.
Portrait of Admiral William D. Leahy, oil on canvas, 1936. U.S. Naval Academy Museum.
Heavy and Light Cruisers Range Far to Scout or Fight; USS Astoria and USS Phoenix, watercolor on board, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Heavy and Light Cruisers Range Far to Scout or Fight; USS Astoria and USS Phoenix, watercolor on board, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Navy Sea Planes, watercolor, 1941. The N. Arthur Astor Family Trust.
Navy Sea Planes, watercolor, 1941. The N. Arthur Astor Family Trust.
War Weary USS San Diego Returns to Home Port, watercolor, 1967. The Hilbert Museum.
War Weary USS San Diego Returns to Home Port, watercolor, 1967. The Hilbert Museum.
Snow Field Training, watercolor, 1942. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.
Snow Field Training, watercolor, 1942. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.
Fog Horn, watercolor, ca. 1950. The Hilbert Collection.
Fog Horn, watercolor, ca. 1950. The Hilbert Collection.
Chinese Junk Boat, watercolor, 1963. Robert Dreibelbis Collection.
Chinese Junk Boat, watercolor, 1963. Robert Dreibelbis Collection.
Stella Polaris, Howard Hughes' yacht, watercolor, 1935. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum.
Stella Polaris, Howard Hughes’ yacht, watercolor, 1935. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum.
Relief of McMurdo, watercolor, 1959. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Relief of McMurdo, watercolor, 1959. The Irvine Museum Collection.
The Last Voyage of the Queen Mary, in the company of the USS Long Beach, watercolor, 1972. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.
The Last Voyage of the Queen Mary, in the company of the USS Long Beach, watercolor, 1972. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A paradise of fine art in San Diego!

Jorge Luis Borges wrote: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” As someone who loves to read and write, I agree.

But I also love to experience life, contemplate and be inspired in other ways. So paradise, to me, would also be like a museum full of extraordinary artwork.

Anyone who’d like to enter such a paradise in San Diego should visit the San Diego Museum of Art. Every time I go, I feel that I’ve ascended to a blissful place–an elevated place where I become fully alive.

My docent pal Catherine guided another great tour of the museum this weekend, and as I and other guests walked from gallery to gallery, my eyes couldn’t stop jumping from wonder to wonder. And I had to chuckle a couple of times, too. Catherine has been known to spontaneously inject bits of wry humor into her tours. With this simple blog post I would like to thank her for being so generous.

The San Diego Museum of Art never ceases to amaze me. I’m always discovering something new. It contains a truly world-class collection of fine art, including masterpieces by some of history’s most celebrated artists. The museum has also collected many pieces that have a special connection to San Diego.

I’ve always thought it would be amazing if one small gallery were permanently dedicated to San Diego–to San Diego’s most renowned artists, and to timeless works of art inspired by our beautiful and surprisingly diverse city. Just imagine!

Do you love art, too? If you ever find yourself in Balboa Park, please walk over to the San Diego Museum of Art.

Then step through the front door into Paradise.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Javier Marín and the human search for identity.

Visitors to the San Diego Museum of Art enter Gallery 15, where many human figures sculpted by Mexican artist Javier Marín stand horizontally upon a large wall.
Visitors to the San Diego Museum of Art enter Gallery 15, where many human figures sculpted by Mexican artist Javier Marín stand horizontally upon a large wall.

Yesterday, during my walk through Balboa Park, I stepped from the Panama 66 outdoor cafe into Gallery 15 of the San Diego Museum of Art . . . and look what I saw!

Upon one large wall stand numerous small sculptures of the human body, created by Victor Javier Marín Gutiérrez, a Mexican artist whose celebrated work has been exhibited internationally.

The organic sculptures stand on the wall in poses of naked expression, casting dynamic shadows that crisscross in every direction. There is anguish and joy and perplexity and care and simple, wonderful being. There is flesh and there is soul. There is that ongoing internal search for human identity.

According to the San Diego Museum of Art’s website: “Javier Marín’s work, above all, is about beauty, a particularly human beauty that reflects what the poet José Emilio Pacheco described as ‘the terrible miracle of being alive.’”

Looking across at the wall containing many small sculpted human forms is like gazing down from above upon the mass of naked humanity. It’s like a Creator gazing down upon his living, breathing, dancing Creation.

This astonishing wall is an example of the Javier Marín sculpted work now on display in the San Diego Museum of Art’s free Galleries 14 and 15.

The exhibition will be officially kicked off with a special event on Thursday, September 27, 2018. Culture & Cocktails: Art of the Body includes a VIP pre-tour with the artist himself.

The exhibition will continue through March 3, 2019.

Javier Marín's fleshy sculpted forms include every sort of human expression.
Javier Marín’s fleshy sculpted forms depict every sort of human expression.
Gazing at representations of our mysterious selves.
Gazing at many representations of our mysterious selves.

UPDATE!

I saw even more amazing Javier Marín art during a later visit to the museum, and here are some photographs!

The first photo showing sculpted elements of the human body intermixed, is of a piece that can be viewed in Gallery 14.

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The next two photos, taken in the San Diego Museum of Art’s first floor rotunda, are of several large, truly stunning sculptures that are described: Untitled I, II, VI. Polyester resin and iron wire, 2004.

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!