Desert Art Center: Clubhouse of the Legends

Desert Art Center: Clubhouse of the Legends

An institution that nurtured generations of Smoketree painters—the Desert Art Center—celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. This is not some moldy shrine to art history; it’s a working co-op gallery in downtown Palm Springs. Located at 550 North Palm Canyon, the center is a warm, light-filled space housed in the old Frances Stevens School. You can go next time you’re in town and see works by contemporary artists while soaking up the vibe of the early giants. The gallery nurtured the All-Stars of desert art including Carl Bray, Wilton McCoy, Darwin Duncan, R. Brownell McGrew, Jimmy Swinnerton, John Hilton, Bill…

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Scores and Screaming Deals – Tips For Collectors

Scores and Screaming Deals – Tips For Collectors

All of us who really appreciate the early California desert painters sooner or later come to the realization our taste level has exceeded our pocket book. Here are some tips to keep you in the game without a lot of money. Read all you can about the early California desert painters in art magazines, the Internet, and library books. Become familiar with the individual artists’ styles. Visit art galleries and antique stores. Look online at auctions in San Francisco and the east coast. Attend local art auctions like the John Moran auction in Pasadena. Sometimes, prices depend on who is…

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Gary Fillmore Speaks in Palm Desert

Gary Fillmore Speaks in Palm Desert

Gary Fillmore, a well-known authority on Arizona and Western art, comes to Palm Desert on Friday,  April 23rd to speak on the painters Marjorie Reed, John Hilton and Jimmy Swinnerton. All three once lived and painted in the Coachella Valley. Fillmore, owner of the Blue Coyote Gallery in Cave Creek, Arizona (near Phoenix), is the author of an acclaimed biography on Reed “All Aboard: The Life and Work of Marjorie Reed” as well a book on Swinnerton: “Desert Horizons: Images of Jimmy Swinnerton’s Southwest”. Fillmore will be speaking at a location essential to the history of desert art. LG’s Prime…

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Early Painters of the Borrego Desert

Early Painters of the Borrego Desert

Around 1930 a young botanist from Chicago came to the Borrego desert to dig in the sand and collect native plants. At some point hunting for tansy-mustard and tidy-tips wasn’t enough for her, so she took out her easel and began painting the dunes and smoke trees. Last month I picked up one of her 1930s Borrego paintings on eBay for $99. When I hung the painting on my bedroom wall, it immediately connected me to Edith Purer herself (she became California’s first woman ecologist), as well as to the plants, topography and mood of Anza-Borrego.

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Desertscapes, a Celebration of Early Desert Artists in Palm Desert

The City of Palm Desert is joining with organizations Valleywide (including the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Living Desert and Edenhurst Gallery) to present Desertscapes, a monthlong celebration of the early desert artists and contemporary artists who are continuing the tradition.

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