Desert Artists

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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Smoketree Painters Included in Grand Canyon Exhibit

Smoketree Painters Included in Grand Canyon Exhibit

The Blue Coyote Gallery (Gary Fillmore’s gallery in Cave Creek, Arizona) and the Grand Canyon Association collaborate to present Canyon Magic, an artistic appreciation of “the world’s best known chasm”, now through June 10, 2010. The show is at the historic Kolb Studios on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The studio, dating to 1904, was home to the river-rafting photographers, brothers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb. Canyon Magic will appeal to readers of California Desert Art because many of “our” painters also ventured to the Grand Canyon—Paul Grimm, Edgar Payne, John Hilton, Hanson Puthuff and Jimmy Swinnerton, among…

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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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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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Carl Bray Notecards

Carl Bray Notecards

The Indian Wells Historic Preservation Foundation is selling note cards featuring Carl Bray paintings of classic desert scenes. The price is $10 for a box of 5 cards.

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Artist Edna Hollinger

The Coachella Valley lost an important figure in desert painting in July with the death of Edna Hollinger.

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Artist Jay Von Werlhof

In another loss, the desert archaeologist and artist Jay von Werlhof of Ocotillo died on December 10, 2009.

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The Life and Work of Marjorie Reed

The Life and Work of Marjorie Reed

Gary Fillmore, owner of the Blue Coyote Gallery near Phoenix, has helped to assemble a show of traditional and contemporary landscape artists of the West.

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