New Gallery for Borrego Springs, Paul Grimm for Sale

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The former Borrego Valley Foods store, a mid-century modern building prominently located on Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, has been purchased by the Borrego Art Institute for a new gallery featuring plein air desert artists. With Borrego’s vast desert wilderness, the Institute’s commitment to plein air painting and a significant modernist building—look for this to become a destination for artists and fans of California Impressionism.

The building was designed in 1949 by La Jolla architect William Kesling, known for his Streamline Moderne style. For the renovation, the Institute enlisted award-winning architect Richard Orne–formerly of LA and now a Borrego resident. Workers tore out the old market’s ceiling and gutted the interior last October. “We’re moving along rapidly,” says board member Kay Levie, with a planned completion by October, 2012, and a grand opening around the first of the year. Watch the organization’s website for updates:

The Institute hosts a popular Plein Air Invitational each year and is intent on raising the bar for art in the village, often described as resembling a very early Palm Springs. “This will be not only a center but a landmark in the community,” says Levie. “It’s going to be stunning.”

The Institute plans to name the new gallery (a restaurant will be included in the space) for a major donor. Arts patrons are officially invited to vie for the honor.


Paul Grimm, Winter on the Desert

JUST DOWN BORREGO SPRINGS’ MAIN STREET from the under-construction gallery is the Borrego Desert Nature Center, home of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association and a well-loved, long established center for desert natural history and art. Hanging on a wall of the Center is a classic Paul Grimm painting of Palm Springs’ dunes and verbena. The owner, Association life member Nick Spain, is selling the painting with a portion of the proceeds to benefit ABDNHA.

The painting comes with great provenance. Art dealers think of provenance as proof or authentication. To me provenance is a story that gives the painting meaning. The central question that sometimes elevates a painting to a great find is: “Where did it come from?”

In this case, the painting came from a retired professor of archaeology, Nick Spain, who lives in Santa Ana, in the same house where he grew up. He knew his neighbor Lova Millard his entire life. Millard was a schoolteacher beginning in 1918 and an early botanist and naturalist who hung out in the desert with friends like natural history writer Edmund Jaeger and artist Paul Grimm. Grimm personally gave her the painting titled Winter on the Desert.

While the painting hung in Millard’s home, Spain would admire it each time he visited. After Lova died on her 100th birthday in 1998, the family found written on the back of the Grimm painting: Nick. So the painting went to Nick Spain, as Lova intended, and hung in his home for years—reminding him of Lova and the desert, where he had done a lot of archaeology work. (Incidentally, 49 of Lova’s journals of her life spanning the 20th Century—including details of her meetings with early scientists, artists and botanists– were discarded by the over-zealous clean-up crew. Only one journal was saved.)

“I treasured the painting for years and now it’s time to pass it on,” Spain says. For the next owner of this painting, I suggest taping Spain’s story to the back so Lova Millard, Paul Grimm, Nick Spain and early Palm Springs are never parted.

For information, contact Betsy Knaak at ABDNHA:


Title:  Winter on the Desert #11950

Scene description: Landscape;  looking north across wildflower covered sand dunes along eastern escarpment of Santa Rosa/San Jacinto mountains.

Signature:  “Paul Grimm” on front

Date painted:  12-30-1950

Size:  16 x 20 inches

Style:  Plein air

Medium:  Oil

Frame:  Simple, gold-gilt on wood; 21 1/2″ x 25 1/2″; original frame “Grimm 330”

Note on back: “Location 15 miles east of Palm Springs”

Suggested sale:  $3,900

Percentage of sale to Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association



23 comments for “New Gallery for Borrego Springs, Paul Grimm for Sale

  1. Hi Jean,

    The Paul Grimm in Borrego is sold, unfortunately. The Galleria at the Palms at Indian Head (in Borrego) is having a big show and sale of early desert art, opening Feb. 24th, 2013. They have at least one Paul Grimm. I’ll post a news item on that sale in the next few days.


  2. Hello, I have a Paul Grimm painting for sale. It is the Desert Domain oil painting, however I have no idea when Paul Grimme painted this particular landscape art. It does need professional restoration work. Overall picture quality 8.5 out of 10. 909-862-3282 Mark

  3. Hello. @Richard Roger and Jean Hoover, I have two Paul Grimm paintings that I have decided to sell. If you’re interested in possibly purchasing one or both of them, send me an email to


  4. I have an original Paul Grimm Desert and Mountains. 20×30. 1964. March. Please contact me if interested. Thank you Lauren

  5. I have a Paul Grimm painting for sale. It is entitled “Foothill Vista”, size 30 x 24, with original frame. It is in excellent condition. If you are interested, please email and I can send you a photo:

  6. I have a Paul Grimm painting that I would like to sell. The title is “Sentinel of the desert” from 1969. Measurements are 48×33 1/2 with frame, and 37×23 just canvas.

  7. I have a Paul Grimm painting for sale. The title is “Desert Expanse”.
    Measurements are 25 1/2 x 35 1/2 original frame, 19 1/2 x 29 1/2 canvas.
    Scene Description- Desert landscape looking across wildflower
    covered sand dunes along escarpment of mountains on a
    partly cloudy partly sunny day. Great condition, pictures available.
    David 360 702 9823

  8. I have a Paul Grimm dessert/mountain scene with beautiful clouds, written on back of canvas is “Desert Contrast” plus his hand written name Paul Grimm. 31×25 canvas size. Origianal frame. Excellant condition. We would like to sell this oil. Please contact Sue at 309-264-1212.

  9. I have 3 Paul Grimm original oils for sale if anyone is interested. One of them is the rugged old cowboy. Please email if you are interested. They are all signed by him.

  10. i have 2 Frank Kinney watercolor’s up for sale. One is “cliff side Dwelling” 1981. The other ” Sunrise Reflections” from 1984.

  11. I have a large Paul Grimm Seascape for sale.
    My husband purchased it from Paul’s Desert Studio in Palm Springs during the artist’s lifetime in the early 70’s

  12. The Paul Grimm signed seascape us in perfect condition
    Contact # 708-363-6114

  13. I have two Paul Grimm paintings inherited from an Aunt. I have no idea of their value. Where should I start?

  14. I am an art broker and have clients who buy and sell Paul Grimm and many other artists to include Southern California art. I currently have a client with a Paul Grimm and a few other California artists and another with an original Whistler etching.
    Please contact me if you wish to buy or sell.
    internationalartofdangivens at
    Dan Givens 805-202-6729

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