Coming To A Close In Pasadena
Two major Arts and Crafts exhibitions are closing at The Pasadena Museum of California Art and we hope you’re able to see them before they do!
First up is the masterfully curated, The Nature of William S. Rice: Arts and Crafts Painter and Printmaker. This stunning exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the private world of William S. Rice (1873–1963), an artist and avid naturalist known for his ability to refine nature to its simplest forms.
With an illustrative sensibility, the artist took a special interest in Japanese block prints and ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) and transformed the Japanese polychrome technique into graphic distillations of California’s untrammeled scenery, favoring strong, stylized lines and planes of pure color.
Although particularly well known for his block prints and as author of two books for students on the process, he was also an accomplished watercolorist and often traveled to sketch on site in the peace of nature, or as he put it, in the “glorious woods,” producing evanescent visions of Santa Cruz, Stockton, and Yosemite, among other sites.
The Nature of William S. Rice: Arts and Crafts Painter and Printmaker sheds light on many of the artist’s achievements, including several never-before-exhibited pieces capturing the pristine California landscape before urban development.
And the second exhibition coming to a close focuses on one of the longest enduring art potteries in California, the distinctive works of California Faience. Established in Berkeley in 1913 (briefly called The Tile Shop), California Faience was born out of a partnership between two former college classmates, William Bragdon and Chauncey Thomas. Firmly grounded in the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, all works were done by hand; the only concession to industrial process was the use of slip casting for their wide array of forms, which still required significant handwork. And the two men personally carried out all aspects of design and manufacture themselves. Also producing pottery in the Art Deco and Moderne styles, their operation was always small with a handful of additional artists creating wares throughout the years, including Beniamino Bufano and many women artists, such as Margaret Clayes, Julia Morgan, and Alice Coffee.
The first exhibition dedicated to the legacy of this remarkable pottery, Of Cottages and Castles: The Art of California Faience presents the full range of the company’s decorative tiles, vessels, and sculptures, with the noteworthy inclusion of tiles from the company’s most prestigious project, the commission by architect Julia Morgan for a complete environment of tiles for William Randolph Hearst’s palatial home and grounds in San Simeon.
Both exhibitions close this coming Sunday, April 3rd, so if you’re in the Pasadena area, make plans to visit today!
Top Image: Installation view, Of Cottages and Castles: The Art of California Faience, November 15, 2015–April 3, 2016, Pasadena Museum of California Art, photo © 2015 Don Milici.