Carl Bray: Grandpa Moses of the Desertlands

Carl Bray: Grandpa Moses of the Desertlands

I’m sitting at Gramma’s restaurant in Banning, California, with the 92-year-old artist Carl Bray across the table from me. The legendary “smoketree painter” of Indian Wells, Carl is one of the last of the early desert artists. With his huge railroadman’s hands, he pushes aside the plates and unfolds a map of New Mexico to show me where he first steered “Brownie”--the esteemed Western painter R. Brownell McGrew--into Navajo country. (Brownie lived in Cathedral City in the 1950s and then in La Quinta—read more about him here soon.)

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Honoring Sally Ward and Louise Tennyson

Honoring Sally Ward and Louise Tennyson

UPDATE:  Louise Tennyson Goble died on July 15, 2010, in Palm Springs. She is survived by her husband, Floyd Goble of Palm Springs, and son Gary Pierce of New York City, along with other relatives. This June CDA recognizes two classic desert painters associated with the venerable Desert Art Center in Palm Springs. Sally Ward turned 101 this month, and is still painting. She moved to Tucson in 2006 and is now living at the home of her daughter, Sue Ward. Sally Ward’s friend, Louise Tennyson, had a gallery in downtown Palm Springs in the 1980s and is known for…

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Agnes Martin’s “The Desert” Fails to Bring Huge Price

Agnes Martin’s “The Desert” Fails to Bring Huge Price

Art experts predicted that Agnes Martin’s painting “The Desert” would bring $4-6 million at a Sotheby’s auction in May. Instead, the minimum price was not met and the painting remains unsold—though other Martin paintings sold at Sotheby’s and Christie’s auctions in May. Some critics said the large work did not sell because it’s too overwhelming to be appreciated outside a gallery setting. Martin lived in the New Mexico desert most of her life, dying in 2004 in Taos. She is linked to the Cathedral City painter Agnes Pelton by a shared first name, a devotion to the desert and a…

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CV History Museum Auctions Art

CV History Museum Auctions Art

Before the Coachella Valley History Museum moved their archives into a new building, the basement of the Smiley-Tyler adobe held a tantalizing stash of early desert paintings that had been donated to the museum over its 25 years in existence. The Indio Museum also has been given paintings by contemporary painters from the region.  An assortment of these early and recent paintings will be for sale on Saturday, May 15th. Early artists included are Carl Bray, Margaret Hunter and Freda Marshall. Marshall, a friend of aviator Jacqueline Cochran, painted on date boxes and gave the young Carl Bray his first…

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Painting World War II: The California Watercolor Artists

Painting World War II: The California Watercolor Artists

The California Water Color Society was an important presence in American art in the 1930s through 1970s. The painters had been perfecting their abilities to document everyday life when World War II came along. Their medium was portable, cheap and immediate—well-suited to capturing the war domestically and on the front lines. Life magazine commissioned some of the artists—among them, Barse Miller, Paul Sample, and Fletcher Martin—to depict preparations for conflict. Now, for the first time, The Oceanside Museum of Art has collected World War II watercolors by California artists. The exhibit–Painting World War II—is curated by Glen Knowles, an art…

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