Hall of Flowers, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915 signed and dated 'E Charlton Fortune 1915' (upper right) oil on canvas 12 x 16in overall: 19 x 23in
PROVENANCE: Private collection Collection of Dr. Oscar and Trudy Lemer, San Francisco, 1971 With The Redfern Gallery, Laguna Beach, 2008 Private collection, since 2008
EXHIBITED: Monterey, Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art, Colors and Impressions, The Early Work of E. Charlton Fortune September 23, 1989 January 14, 1990, Laguna Art Museum, February 3 April 14, 1990, The Oakland Museum, August 15- October 15, 1990. Carmel, Carmel Art Association, E. Charlton Fortune, 1885 1969, August 2 September 5, 2001. Paris, Mona Bismark Foundation Museum, Masters of Light, Plein-Air Painting in California 1890-1930, September 26 December 14, 2002, Krakow, International Cultural Centre, February 5 May 4, 2003, Madrid, Centro Cultural del Conde Duque Museum, June 18 August 31, 2003, Irvine, The Irvine Museum, October 4, 2003 January 17, 2004.
LITERATURE: Monterey Museum, Colors and Impressions, The Early work of E. Charlton Fortune, 1990, p. 33 (as Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915). William Gerdts and Will South, California Impressionism, 1998, p. 192 (as Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915). Carmel Art Association, E. Charlton Fortune 1885 - 1969, 2001, p. 47 (as Panama Pacific Exposition, Court of Flowers, 1915). Irvine Museum, Masters of Light, 2002, p. 107.
Euphemia Charlton Fortune was born in Sausalito, across the bay from San Francisco, to a Scottish father. She did not like her given name Euphemia and came to be known to friends as Effie and usually signed her paintings E. Charlton, the family name of her grandmother.
After her father passed away, she lived in Los Angeles and then was sent to Scotland where she attended St. Margaret's Convent, a Roman Catholic girls' school, for six years. She returned to California and attended the Mark Hopkins Institute where she studied with Arthur Mathews. She became part of the local art scene and associated with artists including Armin Hansen, Maynard Dixon and Maurice Logan.
The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the ensuing fire destroyed most of her artwork. She left San Francisco for New York and studied at the Art Student's league under Frank Vincent DuMond and F. Louis Mora. She was then elected woman's vice-president of the Art Students League.
In 1911, she visited Scotland, England and Paris. She would have seen and been influenced by the works of Monet, Pissaro, Sisley and Renoir. She was also exposed to the first exhibition of the Italian Futurists. Following her trip abroad, she returned to California in 1912 and established studios in Monterey and San Francisco and developed her own unique style of painting.
E. Charlton Fortune attended the summer painting class in Monterey taught by the famous American teacher, William Merritt Chase. This renowned impressionist teacher was famous for telling his students "take all the time you want to finish the painting, take up to two hours if necessary".
The Panama-Pacific International Exposition opened in San Francisco in 1915. The event celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal. It included the largest impressionist art show ever to take place on the West Coast. Almost every artist who had achieved notoriety contributed to this grand exhibition of hundreds of paintings and sculptures. European artists such as Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin, American painters William M. Chase, Childe Hassam, Richard Miller, John Singer Sargent and California artists William Wendt, Joseph Raphael, Guy Rose and E. Charlton Fortune were among those distinguished artists who exhibited their works.
E. Charlton Fortune was immensely inspired by all the creative activity surrounding the opening of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and she received a silver medal for one of her paintings at the exhibition. She painted this masterwork, Hall of Flowers in 1915, during the pinnacle of her artistic career. This glorious painting captures and conveys the essence of the "Art Spirit" taking place at this historical moment in time. The spontaneous application of brilliant red, magenta and pink color creates the impression of sunny vibrant flowers, which directly draws the viewer's attention to the lady with a parasol who is resting on the stone ledge and enjoying the idyllic day. The observer's eye then continues to be led up to the grand entrance of the spectacular architecture created specifically for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
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