Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945) Monterey 38 x 50in framed 54 x 66in

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Lot 32
Arthur Frank Mathews
(1860-1945)
Monterey 38 x 50in framed 54 x 66in

Sold for US$ 500,075 inc. premium
Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945)
Monterey
signed 'A.F. Mathews' (lower right)
oil on canvas
38 x 50in
framed 54 x 66in

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    William A. Karges Fine Art, Carmel, California.
    Private collection, Wyoming.

    Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, Arthur Mathews was tasked with a leadership role in rebuilding the city. His workshop of craftsmen and artisans played an integral part in reshaping the city with an eye towards the Arts and Crafts style. With both an architectural as well as artistic background, Mathews along with his wife Lucia, created a style that is best described as California Decorative. Having trained in the art schools of Europe, Mathews carried the 19th Century traditions of art and architecture into the new Century and applied them to what he perceived as the uniqueness of a much more modern California.

    Having successfully established his reputation in Northern California, Mathews focused more and more on easel painting. The California landscape became an important part of his oeuvre. He found the California landscape distinctive in its contours, coloring, foliage and atmosphere. He was once asked why he chose to paint in California versus the East coast or Europe, where painters more commonly resided. He said, 'California is an undiscovered country for the painter. It hasn't been touched. The forms and colors of our countryside haven't begun to yield their secrets...' According to Harvey L. Jones, in his book Mathews: Masterpieces of the California Decorative Style, 'He compared San Francisco and coastal California with Venice for its physical atmosphere. San Francisco's bright hazy sunlight he found comparable to that of the Adriatic coast. Culturally, he compared the touch of the Orient common to both cities.' The source of some of Mathews' typically California color and light effects is suggested by his statement that 'I never work outside until after 4 o'clock in the afternoon...for to me the most extraordinary color effects that we find here in the West come only in the diffused afternoon lights.'

    Mathews made frequent visits to the Monterey Peninsula over the course of 40 years. Both he and Lucia made annual summer excursions to a home on Santa Lucia Street beginning some time after 1910. Through the years Mathews was inspired by the soft brushwork and dark, tonalist palette of James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Mathews applied a similar technique to his landscapes of the Monterey coast; soft colors and line and subtle earth tone color gradations. But with his own unique interpretation.

    In the present work, simply titled Monterey, Mathews translates the idyllic California coastline with his signature poetic softness. The large-scale format of this canvas creates a particularly dramatic portrayal of this stunning location. It is the artist at his finest, working in one of his favorite locations, on an afternoon of exquisite light and beauty. Mathews' large paintings of the Monterey coast are quite rare today and give us a glimpse into what a new generation of plein air painters was soon to emulate and draw inspiration from. It is no wonder that Arthur Mathews carries the mantle of one of California's greatest painters.
Contacts
Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945) Monterey 38 x 50in framed 54 x 66in
Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945) Monterey 38 x 50in framed 54 x 66in
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