Wild beasts invade San Diego Museum of Art!

The Clearing, André Derain, circa 1906. Oil on canvas.

The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park has been invaded by wild beasts!

Les Fauves is French for Wild Beasts, and paintings by early 20th century artists known as the Fauves are running rampant in one amazing gallery!

These particular paintings are part of a wider exhibition titled Monet to Matisse: Impressionist Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation. I visited the San Diego Museum of Art back in May and blogged about the exhibition here.

During my visit yesterday, my docent friend Catherine took me through several of the museum galleries and explained how Impressionism evolved into Post-Impressionism and other avant-garde movements.

Fauvism was a modern movement that shocked art lovers in France between 1905 and 1908. It was led by Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck.

Looking at these canvases, museum visitors can see how the Fauves loved strong contrasts, saturated colors and bold brush strokes producing abstract, often weirdly unexpected forms.

Trees can appear as gangly streaks of pure color. Thick smudges and dabs of paint create startling still life images and brilliant landscapes.

In a strange way the dreamlike effect is similar to the gauzy, delicate work of the Impressionists. The viewer feels the momentary impression of a place or object. But these particular dreams are quite vivid!

The more I looked at these unique works, the more I appreciated the artistry and visionary genius of the Wild Beasts.

Head down to the San Diego Museum of Art and experience this famous artwork with your own eyes!

Monet to Matisse: Impressionist Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation was to end in August, but it has been extended through October 10, 2022.

The Gulf, Henri Manguin, circa 1920. Oil on canvas.

Still Life with Fish, Maurice de Vlaminck. Oil on canvas.

View of Chatou, Maurice de Vlaminck, circa 1907. Oil on canvas.

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!

Sculpture by Francisco Zúñiga at UC San Diego.

Yucateca Sentada is a beautiful bronze sculpture slightly off the beaten path at UC San Diego. It can be discovered by observant students passing down the Ridge Walk through Thurgood Marshall College, by the Administration Building. A walkway leads west to a bench that faces the life-size sculpture. (It isn’t far from Sojourner Truth, another bronze sculpture beside the Ridge Walk.)

Yucateca Sentada (Seated Woman of the Yucatan) was created by renowned Costa Rican-born Mexican artist Francisco Zúñiga in 1976. It was donated to UC San Diego in 1983 by Elsa Dekking and UCSD physics professor Keith Brueckner. That was back when Marshall College was called Third College.

Here’s a photo taken right after its installation, with Chancellor Richard C. Atkinson providing a few words. There’s also an article in the October 3, 1983 issue of The UCSD Guardian concerning the dedication. You can read that here on page 7.

When I first saw this beautiful piece, so radiant with elemental humanity and silent dignity, I thought it might be a work of famed San Diego artist Donal Hord. It’s similar to two works I’ve seen by Hord, Spring Stirring and Aztec.

Then I realized I’d seen another very fine sculpture by Francisco Zúñiga in San Diego. His Mother and Daughter Seated can be found near the front entrance of the San Diego Museum of Art.

I photographed Mother and Daughter Seated back in 2016, as it and various other sculptures were being installed in Balboa Park’s outdoor Plaza de Panama. You can enjoy those photos here.

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!

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Stories, woven and Unwoven at the Timken.

An exhibition of fine tempera paintings created by San Diego artist Marianela de la Hoz is now on view at the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park.

Destejidas – Unwoven showcases the carefully crafted work of the Mexican born painter, who was an artist in residence at the Timken earlier this year. Visitors to the museum had the ability to watch her complete the piece Penelope’s Hands.

Marianela de la Hoz incorporates surprising symbols in her very personal artwork. Figures taken from literature, mythology, fairy tales, world history and religion are often inserted into more contemporary scenes. The many disparate elements can be jolting. They reveal the inner character of her subjects. The strange combinations might make us consider our own lives.

Human experiences in this complex world are cleverly combined with well known stories that were first told long ago. Our own secret stories are unwoven, then rewoven.

Destejidas – Unwoven can be enjoyed at the Timken Museum of Art through September 4, 2022.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad World, 2015.
Lilith, the Other Letter of God, 2019.
Mary Magdalene, 2019.
The Hands of Penelope, 2022.

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!

The shining new Timken Museum of Art!

Oh my goodness! I stepped into the newly renovated Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park today and my mouth dropped open. The first thing I noticed: all that brightly shining brass!

Had I stepped into a golden palace?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when the Timken was closed to the public, not only was a new high tech air filtration added to the museum, but works of art were rearranged, gallery walls painted a pleasant slightly bluish off white (which works perfectly with the many painted masterpieces in gold frames), and all of the building’s brasswork was polished. I’m talking lots and lots of ornate brass, both inside the museum and out!

The building is now more light-filled and elegant than ever, but also less stodgy, more inviting. And it’s still free to view some of the very finest paintings on display in San Diego, including our city’s only Rembrandt.

I learned those two tapestries that used to hang in the central lobby were removed to preserve them, and that the Mercury sculpture has been moved into the outside garden. It’s visible in one my photographs.

The museum’s huge windows not only invite in ample light, beauty and life from the outside world, but the collection now extends itself into that outer world, as well!

I noticed two pieces recently added to the Timken’s world-class collection are now on display, including the fantastic Salomé, considered the most famous painting of artist Ella Ferris Pell.

You might enjoy reading something I posted four years ago, after an architectural tour of the Timken’s remarkable building. The sleek building is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of mid-century Southern California Modernism and the International Style in the nation. You can find that blog and see those photos by clicking here.

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!

Donal Hord’s Summer Rain at San Diego History Center.

Several wonderful pieces of Donal Hord art are now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. I noticed them last weekend.

Most prominent is the extraordinary sculpture Summer Rain, Donal Hord’s final commission. Originally sculpted in 1946 from the dense wood lignum vitae, Summer Rain was cast in bronze in 1968 by Homer Dana, his assistant, two years after Hord’s death.

Donal Hord is considered San Diego’s greatest sculptor. He achieved international fame by bringing a variety of materials, including very hard stone, to life. Many of his spiritual, symbol-filled sculptures were inspired from a year he spent in Mexico, where he studied traditional Olmec and Zapotec art. Some of his public sculptures have become iconic landmarks or representations of our city.

Summer Rain stands near the center of the History Center’s fine art exhibition Be Here Now. The work of artists who lived or spent a great deal of time in San Diego fill a large gallery, and visitors are asked to consider what the collected artwork might say about our region.

…Hord’s figure dances on a cloud pushing out the rain, with hair swept up like a thundercloud, and a rattlesnake on top to symbolize lightning…The San Diego History Center collections include examples of Hord’s work in bronze, wood, stone, and plaster along with maquettes (or scale models), preliminary drawings, tools and extensive archival material.

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!

Impressionist masterpieces exhibited in San Diego!

Tired of living much of your life virtually for the last couple of years? Would you like an awe-inspiring, exhilarating first-hand experience of fine art?

At the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park, numerous Impressionist masterpieces now await your eyes!

Monet to Matisse: Impressionist Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation showcases pieces from one of the finest art collections in Europe. And it’s right here in San Diego for much of the summer.

All I know is that I visited the museum yesterday and found myself drifting into dreamlike worlds through frames hung on gallery walls. Scenes composed with mere glimpses of light, color and form somehow became real–more than real.

It isn’t often eyes are privileged to absorb artwork this historically important, and excellent.

Artists I noticed include Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Matisse, Gauguin, Degas and Picasso. If you’ve never had the opportunity to view original artwork by some of the world’s greatest artists, now is your chance!

Just a few different examples…

Boats on the Beach at Etretat, Claude Monet, 1883. Oil on canvas.
The Jockey, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1899. Gouache and lithograph.
Almond Trees in Flower, Paul Signac, 1902-1904. Oil on canvas.
Portrait of Angel Fernandez del Soto, Pablo Picasso, 1903. Pastel.
View of Antibes, Henri Matisse, 1925. Oil on canvas.

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!

San Diego college faculty art exhibition.

Selected works by artists teaching at colleges around San Diego County are now on display at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

Campus Creatives: Featuring San Diego’s Fine Art Faculty showcases pieces created by 49 teaching artists from 14 local institutions, ranging from smaller community colleges to San Diego State University, University of San Diego, and UC San Diego.

I headed up to Escondido today to experience this mostly contemporary art.

The museum galleries contain many unusual and experimental pieces that utilize a surprising variety of materials. As one might expect from college faculty, certain social, environmental and political themes were plentiful. I also saw examples of arresting beauty and art for art’s sake.

Some of the pieces obviously required a good deal of time and effort. I was stunned by a couple of large, very complex woven tapestries. You’ll see one in the upcoming photographs.

I asked the friendly gentleman at the museum’s front counter what he liked best about the exhibition. The variety, he told me.

I concur one hundred percent!

Go check it out!

Meanwhile, enjoy a few examples.

Campus Creatives: Featuring San Diego’s Fine Art Faculty will be on public view through May 15, 2022.

Corvid: Suspicion, 2021, Joanne Hayakawa. Graphite on mylar with steel frame.
Explanation of Colors, 2019, Leslie Nemour. Oil, mm on found map.
Petals to the Metal, 2019, Joshua Eggleton. Charcoal.
Albedo, 2021, Bill Mosley. Oil on canvas.
The Creation of the Virus, 2021, Carlos Castro. Woven tapestry.
Maintaining Bearings, 2022, Stephanie Bedwell. Wood, fiber.
Cactus Transformation, 2019, YC Kim. Porcelain and light.
Yuri-Tobabay, Japan 1932, 2017, Julie Goldstein. Woodcut, graphite, recycled fabric.
Masquerade, 2021, Serena Potter. Oil on canvas.

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!

Between Heaven and Earth in Balboa Park.

Today I stepped through a door and found myself somewhere between Heaven and Earth.

The fine art exhibition, titled Between Heaven and Earth, filled Gallery 21 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center. Canvases on the gallery walls flowed with shadows, mists and dimly seen forms. The San Diego artist who ushered these visions into existence is Catherine Carlton.

Her more mysterious pieces seem to blend earthly scenes with a sense of their spiritual essence. Her creations evoke a subtle emotional response–a feeling that there is more to this world than what meets the eye. Some of her pieces include sacred symbols or bits of verse.

I particularly loved her art made with layered wax containing pigment. Images of rain, lightning, and natural landscapes are ethereal, fluid, and alive. You can see an example in my next photograph.

Catherine Carlton creates this sublime beauty in her art studio at Liberty Station. She particularly loves to produce commercial art, and has painted murals for various local restaurants..

If you’d like to see more of her work, visit her website here!

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!

Collecting San Diego at the History Center.

A new exhibition recently opened in a gallery at the San Diego History Center. It’s titled Collecting San Diego, Selections from the Dijkstra Fine Art Collection.

Collecting San Diego is a special initiative by the History Center that shines a spotlight on fine art collections containing works by regional artists.

I noticed that many of the pieces on display depict places in and around San Diego, and paint aspects of our region’s history using color and brush.

These particular pieces in the ongoing Collecting San Diego series were discovered by North County art collectors Sandra and Bram Dijkstra. Over many years they have acquired art that moves them, whomever the artist might be. Consequently, you too might be moved by the unique qualities of these pieces. I personally enjoyed all of them. (But I’m very easy to please!)

Anyone reading this who loves art should consider a visit to Balboa Park and the San Diego History Center. You’ll feast your eyes on dozens of fine paintings. In addition to this new Collecting San Diego exhibition, you’ll discover a second large gallery full of art. That exhibit, titled Be Here Now, also displays the work of regional artists, many of whom have achieved national prominence.

These are just a few examples from Collecting San Diego, Selections from the Dijkstra Fine Art Collection

Guaymas, Tom Craig, circa 1937. Oil on canvas.
Imperial Valley Housing, Carol Lindemulder, 2002. Oil on linen.
Five O’clock Shadow, Brad Maxey, 2013. Oil on canvas.
Hair #9 (Hippies and Bikers in the Borrego Desert), Harry Sternberg, circa 1970. Oil on board.
Sun Goddess of the Computer Age, Armando Nuñez, 1997. Mixed media and acrylic on wood panel. (Armando Nuñez helped paint the first mural in Chicano Park, The Historical Wall, in 1973. He was co-founder of Centro Cultural de la Raza and designed the Barrio Logan gateway sign.)

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!

The Fish Cannery Women mural in Barrio Logan.

There’s an extraordinary mural in Barrio Logan that’s tucked away in a place that’s easy to miss. It’s titled The Fish Cannery Women.

The artwork was created in 2010 by renowned muralist Mario Torero. You can find The Fish Cannery Women on Logan Avenue, on the northwest brick wall of Salud Tacos, a popular Mexican restaurant.

A description by the mural reads: “Dedicated to the thousands of multicultural women who worked in the fish canneries of Logan Heights from 1912 to 1985. Their spirit and hard work lives on. The lives of their children and our memory of them will never die.” Logan Avenue Business Association.

The Fish Cannery Women is a painted work that you might expect to see in a fine art museum. But all you have to do is walk down the sidewalk and peer beyond a couple of trees!

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!