The Good Life California Watercolors, 1930-1950

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Newport Jetty Watercolor On Paper 17.5 X 21.5 Inches © Courtesy of The Irvine Museum
The Good Life California Watercolors, 1930-1950

18881 Von Karman Ave. Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92612
January 27th, 2009 - May 16th, 2009

orange county
Tues-Sat 11-5


The Good Life is not a show about being fantastically rich, but instead, it is about having an otherwise ordinary life in the extraordinary and idyllic setting and climate of California during the period 1930 to 1950. As these remarkable watercolor paintings show, one could still be poor and struggling through the Great Depression, but one was always blessed by living the California life.

The majority of paintings in The Good Life are on loan from the collection of Mark and Janet Hilbert, of Newport Beach. A native of Pasadena, Mark Hilbert and his wife Janet have built a superb collection of watercolors that show California life as it was when Southern California's population was a great deal smaller and its towns and cities were perhaps more charming than today. There are views of Newport and Santa Monica Beach; Elysian Park in the mid 1930s; train stations in Los Angeles and San Bernardino; and views of family farms and small town settings.

Among the artists represented in The Good Life, one can view works by Standish Backus (1910-1989), Rex Brandt (1914-2000), Phil Dike (1906-1990), Dong Kingman (1911-2000), Nat Levy (1896-1984), Barse Miller (1904-1973), Paul Sample (1896-1974), Milford Zornes (1908-2008) and many others.

"We started collecting art about 15 years ago. Just by chance, we were decorating a weekend house in Palm Springs and happened to buy an inexpensive watercolor from the 40's. After looking at it for several months we began appreciating the richness and beauty of the medium. This period of California art was nicknamed the California Style by those artists. We soon found this period bristled with a great variety of examples depicting California as it once existed. We are most pleased to share the collection with The Irvine Museum, which has been so generous in creating outstanding shows and books commemorating this land we call California."

Mark and Janet Hilbert

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