Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University

Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University is the only museum dedicated to the California Scene movement. Admission and parking are free.
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The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University, which opened in 2016, was established thanks to the generosity of Mark and Janet Hilbert. The Hilberts' superlative collection focuses on California narrative art of the 20th and 21st Century, with a particular focus on the “California Scene” painting movement of roughly the 1920s through the 1970s. The Hilbert Collection includes oils, watercolors, sketches and lithographs of rural and urban scenes, coastal views, farms, ranches, freeways and landscapes of everyday life in the Golden State; American illustration art; and movie production and animation art.

Operating as usual

MARY BLAIR (1911-1978), "South American Women," 1941, watercolor on paper.  The Hilbert Collection. In 1941, Walt Disney...
02/06/2021

MARY BLAIR (1911-1978), "South American Women," 1941, watercolor on paper. The Hilbert Collection.

In 1941, Walt Disney took a group of his artists -- including Mary Blair and her husband Lee Blair -- on a goodwill trip to Latin America sponsored by the U.S. government.

With Europe embroiled in war, the U.S. was trying to halt the spread of fascist sentiment in its own hemisphere. And under President Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy, who better as an ambassador, to represent the friendship of the United States to its southern neighbors, than Walt Disney?

“It was during this trip that Mary’s multiple artistic gifts coalesced into the vibrant and colorful style she is known for today,” comments animation director John Canemaker, a Blair expert. “It was an unexpected creative detonation that greatly influenced future Disney films and theme park attractions.”

Walt and Lillian Disney, Mary and Lee and other selected Disney artists – who quickly nicknamed themselves “El Grupo” – spent three months traveling through Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico, sketching and painting all the way. They soaked in the colors, sounds, fashions, music and rhythms of the countries they visited – and Mary, perhaps more than any of them, translated what she saw, heard and felt into vibrant images that pulse with life.

Two Disney feature films were directly inspired by the trip: "Saludos Amigos"(1942) and "The Three Caballeros" (1944).

That trip, more than any other experience Mary had ever had, helped her find her own unique “voice” as an artist. And Walt Disney, more than anyone else, noticed this. He took note of her unique use of vivid colors and her eclectic style, which combined an almost childlike naivety with utter sophistication.

As Mary herself would later say, “From ’41 on, I felt that I had found a place in the business.” And so she had. Walt would call on her to create designs, concept art and color concepts for some of the most famous movies of Disney's golden age, including "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Peter Pan," as well as leading design work for the iconic ride "It's a Small World."

Today she is considered a top fan-favorite Disney artist, with a following more avid than she had in her lifetime. In 1991 she posthumously received the highest Disney honor of all upon being named a Disney Legend.

#hilbertmuseum #maryblair #disney #waltdisney #disneyart #disneyartist #southamerica #SaludosAmigos #threecaballeros #animation #animationart #museum #artmuseum #museumfromhome #chapmanuniversity

Keith Crown, "Sunset and Waves, Manhattan Beach," 1954, casein on paper, 30 x 22 inches. The Hilbert Collection.  This w...
02/02/2021

Keith Crown, "Sunset and Waves, Manhattan Beach," 1954, casein on paper, 30 x 22 inches. The Hilbert Collection.


This work was painted just a few blocks from the artist’s home in Manhattan Beach, California. During the 1950s, Keith Crown (1918-2010) produced a series of modern-style abstract works, painted with casein (an opaque water-based paint) on paper.

In a 1980s interview, he stated that the inspiration for most of these paintings came from subject matter, sounds and feelings he experienced while painting on location in the South Bay near his home in Manhattan Beach. The piers, jetties, industrial factories and houses were rearranged according to his preference. The colors were also arranged in similar manner according to his preference.

To represent the sounds and feelings he experienced, Crown created strange shapes and wild color fields, often depicted as floating, emanating or looming in his skies, which add a dimension of near-surrealism to his art.

In this painting, the strange, colorful shapes in the sky probably represent the sounds of crashing waves, the creak of boats, the cries of gulls and other sounds associated with harbors and the ocean.

From the current "Los Angeles Area Scene Paintings" exhibition at the Hilbert Museum of California Art, now extended thr...
01/28/2021

From the current "Los Angeles Area Scene Paintings" exhibition at the Hilbert Museum of California Art, now extended through June 26. (The museum is currently closed due to state and local COVID orders.)

Edward Biberman (1904-1986), "Under the Freeway," c. 1950, oil on panel. The Hilbert Collection.

Philadelphia-born Edward Biberman moved to Los Angeles in 1936, and the city inspired many of his finest paintings. Many of his best-known art pieces are Social Realist works that directly address issues of poverty, racism and inequality.

Biberman once stated he had four areas of interest: “the earth and its visual riches, the people upon it, the forms and structures they have added to it, and man’s relation to his fellows, in turn tragic and heroic.”

In this painting, Biberman turns his attention to the dramatic changes occurring in downtown Los Angeles. The new freeway systems must have seemed absolutely futuristic as they left the ground and flew through the air, crisscrossing the city’s center.

Here he captures the streamlined, sculptural qualities of the L.A. freeways, set against an almost abstract sky of varying blues - and even an incongruous patch of green. The two tiny Giacometti-esque human figures are dwarfed by the immense forms of the overpasses.

#hilbertmuseum #edwardbiberman #art #artmuseum #MuseumFromHome #museum #artist #painting #freeway #losangeles #road #chapmanuniversity

From the current Hilbert Museum exhibition "Los Angeles Area Scene Paintings."   (The Hilbert Museum remains closed due ...
01/28/2021

From the current Hilbert Museum exhibition "Los Angeles Area Scene Paintings." (The Hilbert Museum remains closed due to state and local COVID regulations; when we're allowed to open, we will announce here and on our website.)

ZAMA VANESSA HELDER (1904-1968), "RD 7, Mailboxes,"1940s, watercolor on paper. The Hilbert Collection.

Vanessa Helder produced what are known as Precisionist-Style watercolors (precise forms executed with a relatively dry brush for detail). She moved to Los Angeles in the early 1940s and became a well-known figure within the California Water Color Society.

This scene is typical of the many dirt roadways through areas in Los Angeles County where rural truck farms growing vegetables and fruit still existed well into the 1960s.

"RD" refers to "Rural Delivery." For mail delivery in certain rural areas of America, houses in the 1940s (and even today) may not have their own unique mailing addresses. An entire road instead may be assigned a single common address, such as a rural route number -- and sometimes all the mailboxes for the neighbors along the route would be grouped together, as shown here.

Anyone out there grow up in -- or still live in -- a Rural Delivery area?

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his day:  Danny Galieote, "Freedom of Speech," 2020, oil on canvas. The Hilber...
01/19/2021

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his day:

Danny Galieote, "Freedom of Speech," 2020, oil on canvas. The Hilbert Collection. (Shown here alongside its inspiration, Norman Rockwell's "Freedom of Speech," 1943, oil on canvas. Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA)

In his new series of paintings, Galieote references Rockwell's famous "Four Freedoms" series from the 1940s, while incorporating modern social concerns and underscoring the timeless truths of human nature.

In a 1941 speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his vision for a postwar world founded on four basic human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Inspired, Norman Rockwell then illustrated each of the freedoms from the perspective of his own ordinary, hometown experiences: A man speaking out his own views at a town meeting. The peaceful faces of people of various faiths as they worship. A grandma serving a bounteous Thanksgiving feast to her family. Parents tucking their sleepy children into bed in a cozy house.

The Rockwell paintings were published in the Saturday Evening Post and went on a national tour, raising $132 million for war bonds. They have been issued as posters, U.S. postage stamps and prints, and have become instantly recognizable images.

“I like to think of these paintings as being timeless in the sense that they relate to our needs as humans since the beginning of time,” explains Galieote. “FDR made his famous speech about the Four Freedoms in one of the most intense times during WWII, and Rockwell painted them when people wanted and needed such encouragement.”

“[My] four new works are images of people TODAY, but they're in recognizable compositions that relate to this core set of meanings behind Rockwell's iconic imagery of people that can exist THEN and NOW.”

#hilbertmuseum #MLKDay #freedomofspeech #oilpainting #dannygalieote #painting #freedom #art #artmuseum #museumfromhome #museum #chapmanuniversity

01/12/2021
Art Tour: “Gladiolus” by Henrietta Shore

Hilbert Museum director Mary Platt continues sharing her personal iPhone video tour of paintings at the museum with this oil painting by Henrietta Shore (1880-1963): “Gladiolus,” undated; probably 1930s.

01/11/2021
Art Tour: Emil Kosa Jr., “Cloverleaf Confusion”

While the museum remains closed due to statewide safety orders, we continue to bring you this guided tour of some of our favorite paintings, narrated by Hilbert Museum director Mary Platt. Today: “Cloverleaf Confusion,” 1950s, watercolor by Emil Kosa Jr. (1903-1968). (Apologies for the reflections on the glass...)

An image of beauty and peace in these times of trauma, from our collection:  Eyvind Earle, "Where Eagles Fly," 1993, oil...
01/07/2021

An image of beauty and peace in these times of trauma, from our collection:

Eyvind Earle, "Where Eagles Fly," 1993, oil and lacquer on board. Gift of the Earle Family Trust to the Hilbert Museum of California Art.

Eyvind Earle, best known to many as the famed Disney artist responsible for the look and design of the 1959 animated feature "Sleeping Beauty," was also a fine artist whose distinctively stylized landscapes -- often based on his travels around California -- are immediately recognizable.

This very large (60" x 60") landscape is one of eight paintings gifted to the Hilbert by the Earle Family Trust following our 2018 "Magical Visions: The Enchanted Worlds of Evvind Earle" exhibition. It depicts a semi-fantasy landscape based on the forested cliffs of Northern California -- perhaps inspired by the area near his home in Carmel, CA, where he moved in 1988.

There are some touches in this painting that seem uniquely influenced by Chinese traditional paintings, such as the overhanging tree on the left, and the crags receding into the mist. Earle traveled frequently and picked up new artistic ideas wherever he went.

The painting includes hundreds of tiny dots of red, green, yellow and white, each applied meticulously by hand.

“For 70 years, I’ve painted,” Eyvind once said, “and I’m constantly and everlastingly overwhelmed at the stupendous infinity of nature. Wherever I turn and look, there I see creation. Art is creating… Art is the search for truth.”

He often wrote short poems based on his paintings. The poem that accompanies this painting reads:

“Out of the ocean deep powerfully rising
Black cliffs turn into mountains way up high
Covered with spruce and pine and redwoods hiding
In canyons deep where lonely eagles fly”

#eyvindearle #hilbertmuseum #disneyart #disney #disneyartists #waltdisney #disneyfans #disneyfineart #california #carmel #landscapes #paintings #artists #painters #oilpainting

Things to look forward to in 2021 (if all goes well and we can re-open this spring): the Hilbert Museum will present an ...
01/03/2021

Things to look forward to in 2021 (if all goes well and we can re-open this spring): the Hilbert Museum will present an exhibition of works by Henrietta Berk (1919-1990), a Bay Area painter who flourished in the 1960s and '70s and then, very unjustifiably, sank into obscurity. Come with us and re-discover the work of this exceptional artist in the exhibition "Henrietta Berk: A Bay Area Colorist" at the Hilbert Museum March 6-June 26, 2021, with works on display from the Hilbert Collection and other private collections. Pictured: Henrietta Berk, "Picnic," c. 1962-1964, oil on canvas. The Hilbert Collection.

Great read from the Los Angeles Times about "British Los Angeleno" David Hockney, age 83, living what sounds like his be...
12/24/2020
David Hockney in lockdown: How the artist found his perpetual spring in a horrible year

Great read from the Los Angeles Times about "British Los Angeleno" David Hockney, age 83, living what sounds like his best life during the current lockdown, at his refuge in Normandy, France. (The Hilbert Museum is proud to count Hockey as one of the artists in our collection!)

At 83, the L.A. artist has hunkered down with two assistants and his dog in northern France. The goal: making more art, of course.

12/22/2020
Ben Abril, “Angels’ Flight and Third Street Tunnel”

Hilbert Museum director Mary Platt continues her iPhone video tour of the museum. Today’s painting is Ben Abril’s “Angels’ Flight and the Third Street Tunnel, Los Angeles,” c. 1960, oil on canvas, The Hilbert Collection. (Video length: 2min 44sec)

12/22/2020
Millard Sheets, “San Dimas Train Station,” 1933

While the Hilbert Museum remains closed due to COVID orders, museum director Mary Platt takes iPhone in hand to discuss some favorite paintings. Here’s one of our most popular paintings: Millard Sheets’ “San Dimas Train Station,” 1933, watercolor on paper, The Hilbert Collection.

12/12/2020
Joseph Frey: “The Rite Spot” (1930s)

Hilbert Museum director Mary Platt gives insights into this favorite painting in the museum’s collection: Joseph Frey’s “The Rite Spot,” 1930s, oil on canvas. Believe it or not, this little roadside market/eatery between Pasadena and Eagle Rock was (according to legend) where the cheeseburger was invented! Listen, watch and find out more:

12/05/2020
Art Insight: Burr Singer’s “Touch-Up,” 1943

While we must remain closed, here’s another short video (shot on her iPhone) by Hilbert Museum director Mary Platt. This time she takes a look at Burr Singer’s 1943 oil painting, “Touch-Up.” Take a look — and you can kind of pretend you’re on a tour!

The online National Watercolor Society Centennial Exhibition: "One Hundred Years Strong," in partnership with the Hilber...
12/01/2020

The online National Watercolor Society Centennial Exhibition: "One Hundred Years Strong," in partnership with the Hilbert Museum of California Art, continues -- see it here from the comfort of home:
https://online.fliphtml5.com/ppaub/jdbf/

Today we feature the work of Diane Kiemeyer from this outstanding exhibition:

Diane Kiemeyer, "Takeout Time," 2015, watercolor, 29 x 33 inches.

You're looking through a window (and yes, the reflections are part of the painting) into the world of hard-working cooks on the line as they prepare food for take-out. Kiemeyer creates a world behind glass as she focuses on the unsung, behind-the-scenes heroes who prepare our food and pays tribute to them by making them the subject of her work.

The reflections add to the visual complexity and interest of the painting -- are you standing inside a restaurant dining room looking through the window at the cooks and chefs? Or are you outside on the sidewalk looking in? What else can you see in the reflections? The artist warms up her palette of primarily blues and purples with the golden hues of the lights. This is a complex piece carried off with panache and style.

#hilbertmuseum #watercolor #watercolorpainting #painting #art #artexhibition #artexhibit #NationalWatercolorSociety #exhibition #museum #artmuseum #museumfronhome

"At Home with the Hilbert Museum" continues with a nostalgic watercolor from the current (online) exhibition "National W...
11/30/2020

"At Home with the Hilbert Museum" continues with a nostalgic watercolor from the current (online) exhibition "National Watercolor Society Centennial Celebration 1920-2020: One Hundred Years Strong."

We are proud to partner with NWS on this show, which we had hoped to have up on the walls of the Hilbert Museum right now! However, because of the ongoing closure due to state and local COVID-19 orders, the show is now online for all to see (link at end of this post!).

John Bohnenberger (1926-2012), "Bridge in Venice, California," undated, watercolor on paper, 22 x 30 inches. The Hilbert Collection.

Chicago-born John Bohnenberger moved to Southern California with his family when he was 14. After two years of high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and served until 1946.

From 1947 to 1972, Bohnenberger worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Monterey Park, California, just east of downtown Los Angeles. In his spare time, he painted watercolors of various neighborhoods around Los Angeles and elsewhere.

This evocative watercolor captures the serenity of the little seaside town of Venice, California, with its "Venetian"-style canals and bridges.

The canals recall the origins of Venice as a purpose-built tourist attraction in the early 1900s, when entrepreneur Abbot Kinney created an Italian-style coastal playground, dubbed "Venice of America," complete with Italianate buildings, an amusement park, and canals plied by singing gondoliers. Six of the canals and three islands remain today, lined by residences.

Enjoy all the paintings in the NWS Centennial Exhibition -- the ones by current watercolorists juried into the show, and a selection of historical watercolors by NSW members from the Hilbert Collection -- online HERE: https://online.fliphtml5.com/ppaub/jdbf/

#hilbertmuseum #watercolor #watercolorpainting #painting #art #artexhibition #artexhibit #NationalWatercolorSociety #exhibition #museum #artmuseum #museumfronhome #chapmanuniversity

Address

167 North Atchison Street
Orange, CA
92866

The Hilbert Museum is conveniently located across the street from the Orange Amtrak/Metrolink Station. This can be reached by train on the Orange County or Inland Empire - Orange County Metrolink lines or by OCTA bus on lines 56, 453, 454, 54, and 59. If taking lines 56, 453, or 54, get off at Orange Trans CTR - Dock 2. If taking 54 or 59, get off at Orange Trans CTR - Dock 1. The Museum is just across the street, opposite of Ruby's Diner.

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In the About section it says "Opens tomorrow". Is that official that you will now be open to the public again?
Our guide to #OldTowneOrange with a stop at Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University!
A PBS special, just posted by the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and the historic Mission Inn Foundation, the history and conservation of the iconic Missions of California by Henry Chapman Ford painted between 1874-1886 from onsite visits when they were largely ignored and falling into ruin:
Visited there yesterday - wow, what a fine environment for all the artwork there ... will be back. Thank you.
Bay Area Scene Paintings...New exhibition with a little bay music....
5 new exhibitions unveiled at the Hilbert Museum of California Art...
"Making Waves" A Tribute to John Severson and Rick Griffin ...Presentation by Gordon T McClelland... A short video of that fun day... Music by Paul Johnson and Mark Burros...
The Hilbert Museum is a MUST to see on your bucket list! It has so much to offer. It is a peaceful Museum and lets you explore California Art. The current exhibits are stunning and I can't wait to see the new exhibit coming soon.