California Impressions Featuring Landscapes from the Wendy Willrich Collection

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This exhibition features 30 beautiful California landscape paintings from the collection of Bay Area art collector Wendy Willrich, and is augmented by selected works drawn from the permanent collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, as well as additional loans. The exhibition traces the evolution of California landscape painting from the “Hudson River School” style, through the advent of plein-air Impressionism, and finally to the colorful, Fauve-influenced style of the “Society of Six.”

Among the pioneering California artists represented are Thomas Hill (1829 – 1908) and William Keith (1838 – 1911), who commenced their careers working in the traditional “Hudson River School” style; plein-air painters such as Guy Rose (1867 – 1925) and Granville Redmond (1871 – 1935), who captured California’s spectacular natural light and atmosphere; and “Society of Six” artists Selden Gile (1877 – 1947) and William Clapp (1879 – 1954), who helped to introduce modernist aesthetics into California landscape painting.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly full-color publication that reproduces the entire Willrich Collection of 43. In his essay, Timothy Anglin Burgard, Ednah Root Curator-in-Charge of American Art for the Fine Arts Museums, traces the conceptual and visual evolution of the California landscape, both real and imagined, from a pristine wilderness to a bucolic garden. In his essay and catalogue entries, independent scholar Alfred C. Harrison, Jr., provides the cultural context for these artists, including the patronage fueled by California’s rich natural resources and the influence of European styles on the evolution of California landscape painting.


California Impressions Featuring Landscapes from the Wendy Willrich Collection is sponsored by Union Bank of California and supported by Wendy and Mason Willrich.

Currently on view