Art of the Adobes Reveals Hidden Treasures of Old Monterey
“Art in the Adobes,” a new annual art festival in Monterey, California, offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience historic paintings and sculpture, dating from the late 19th to early 20th century, installed for one weekend in old adobes of the Spanish colonial era.
The inaugural event titled “Hidden Treasures of Old Monterey,” held from September 30 to October 2, 2011, provided a rewarding glimpse of just under 100 artworks normally held out of public view, culled from the vast collections of the City of Monterey, California State Parks, and the Monterey History & Art Association. [Continues below slidedeck...]
The Monterey Museum of Art selected ten crown jewels from the city of Monterey's collection, notably a moody landscape of 1865 by George Inness (1825-1894), a tonalist sunset scene by William Keith (1838-1911), and a jewel-toned painting celebrating classical antiquity by Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945). One stand-out was Charles Rollo Peters' (1862-1928) rare impressionist scene of 1891, "Kitty, Sonoma," depicting his first wife in a sunlit meadow.
A starting off point for the three installations curated by Dr. Julianne Burton-Carvajal, was the Larkin House, an adobe from 1835 which represents the original prototype of the Monterey Colonial style, and is chock-full of 19th century decorative arts. Among the featured portraits of Monterey's important early figures, Commodore John Drake Sloat, painted by Alice Chittenden (1859-1944), depicts the naval officer who claimed California for the United States at Monterey's Custom House on July 7, 1846.
An installation in the 2.5-acre Cooper-Molera Complex, one of only two National Trust properties in the state, highlighted Ferdinand Burgdorff's (1881-1975) night scene titled "Old Custom House with Horseman," along with a Native American patterned gathering basket, and a pre-1915 tonalist watercolor titled “Monterey Street” by Francis McComas. A number of remarkable Western-themed works by Jo Mora (1876-1947) included the bronze table sculpture “Tailing the Steer” of 1930, the 1915 marble sculpture "Navajo Girl" and "The Evolution of a Cowboy," a lithograph.
A small annex gave a glimpse of the city's history as a bustling port with pieces from the State Parks collection, such as Chinese Export furniture and porcelain, and the detailed painting "Chinese Fishing village, Monterey, 1880" by Henry Cleenewerck (1818-1901).
A room displaying 27 of Charles Rollo Peters’ nocturnes, European scenes, and other paintings by his second wife Constance and two sons—works which provided a nostalgic vision of old Monterey and a compelling snapshot of the lives of this peripatetic family of talented artists— was on view at the circa-1840 Stevenson House (a once popular artists’ hangout and a former stay for writer Robert Louis Stevenson).
Read more about the exhibited Monterey artists, active from about 1875-1940, in the premiere issue of American Fine Art magazine this November.
The 2012 “Art in the Adobes” will feature two dozen renowned 20th century painters in the 48-hour exhibition “Monterey Artists at Home and Abroad,” next fall.