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Indepth Arts News:

"California Holiday: The E. Gene Crain Collection"
2002-03-17 until 2002-07-07
Laguna Art Museum
Laguna Beach, CA, USA United States of America

Since the early 60s, California native and longtime Laguna Beach resident E. Gene Crain has amassed perhaps the most significant collection of California regional art in the United States. While some works in his collection have been shown in past exhibitions at the Museum, the first major exhibition of the collection will now be unveiled to the public when California Holiday: The E. Gene Crain Collection opens at Laguna Art Museum on March 17, 2002 and continues through July 7. Organized by Laguna Art Museum curator of collections Janet Blake and -MORE- guest curator Susan M. Anderson, the exhibition of 90 works, will be accompanied by a 96-page full color catalogue.

Support for the exhibition has been provided by the Festival of Arts Foundation, the City of Laguna Beach, the Fieldstone Foundation, Jim and Martha Newkirk, John and Barbara Bing, the late Rex Brandt, Gerald and Bente Buck, Mary and Matt Lawson, Ginney Nichols, Mary Newman, Peter and Gail Ochs, George Stern of George Stern Fine Arts, Fred and Ruth Westphal, Mike Verbal of Claremont Fine Arts, and E. Gene Crain.

The exhibition is drawn from one of the best collections in the United States of California regional scene paintings from the 1930s and 1940s. Crain’s collecting passion and his interest in California regional scene painting has resulted in a collection of over 900 works—paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture. The collection represents a personal journey of the collector whose passion was as much for his personal relationship with the individual artists as it was for the work they created.

The collection began in the early 1960s when Crain met artist Rex Brandt at the artist's home in Corona del Mar. That day marked the beginning of a thirty-nine year relationship with the man who would become one of his closest friends, a mentor who introduced him to the artists of the California School and the many possibilities of painting in watercolor. Through Brandt, Crain met other artists from the group known as the California School, most notably Phil Dike and Millard Sheets, with whom he also formed close friendships. Brandt, Dike, and Sheets were Crain’s guides in developing his As he learned more about the California School, Crain also acquired work by other artists from the California School, among them Tom Craig, John Haley, Joan Irving, Dong Kingman, Emil J. Kosa, Jr., Tom E. Lewis, Maurice Logan, Erle Loran, Dan Lutz, Barse Miller, Phil Paradise, Charles Payzant, George Post, and Milford Zornes. The exhibition will have works by 27 artists, dating from 1931 to 1984, and will highlight the entire careers of Rex Brandt (1914-2000), Phil Dike (1906-1990), and Millard Sheets (1907-1989).

A lecture series, A Three-Day California Holiday: Lectures on the E. Gene Crain Collection, will be held on three Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Presentations will be made by Janet Blake on Sunday, March 24, Gene Crain on Sunday, April 21, and Susan Anderson on Sunday, April 21.

Founded in 1918, Laguna Art Museum is the heir to the oldest cultural institution in Orange County. Permanent collections and exhibitions feature historical, contemporary, and pop-culture-oriented art, with emphasis on the art of California.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive in Laguna Beach. The Museum is open daily, except Wednesdays, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., including Monday holidays. The Museum is free to the public on Tuesdays. For more information on the Museum, please call between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 949.494.8971, extension 0 or visit the Museum’s website at www.lagunaartmuseum.org.

Phil Dike
California Holiday, 1933
Oil on canvas
30x 36

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