The Crocker Art Museum is pleased to announce an ongoing exhibition of 41 landscape and still-life paintings created by California artists from the 1870s to the 1940s. The exhibition, titled Nature’s Gifts: Early California Paintings from the Wendy Willrich Collection, includes detailed depictions of California’s majestic Sierra Nevada scenery, quieter Barbizon-inspired and Tonalist landscapes in both watercolor and oil, and plein-air Impressionist and Post-Impressionist scenes of mountains, desert, and sea.
All of the works in this exhibition are gifted by art collector Wendy Willrich to the Museum’s renowned permanent collection of California art, the core of which was assembled by E.B. Crocker and his family in the early 1870s.
“I selected the Crocker because it is important to have my collection in Sacramento, the capital of California,” said Willrich. “Moreover, I know that my collection adds great value and depth to the excellent collection of California paintings that already exists at the Crocker.”
Most art created in California between the 1870s and 1940s (the span represented by paintings in the Willrich Collection) manifests a profound sense of place. As with American art generally, the best California art of this period was founded upon a close communion between the artist and the land.
Historically, a vast number of the Golden State’s artists have not been native, but transplanted from other parts of the country or world, and many perfected their craft by training elsewhere.
Crocker Art Museum founder E.B. Crocker and his family firmly believed in the beauty and merit of California art. The Crockers were visionary in recognizing the contributions of California’s artists early on, and thus compiled the core of what is today the state’s premier collection of 19th-century California paintings.
The Willrich collection begins with detailed images of California’s majestic Sierra Nevada rendered in the style popularized by the East Coast's Hudson School. These include four paintings by Thomas Hill, two by William Keith, and one by Frederick Schafer.
Now open for view, this exhibition is organized by the Crocker’s associate director and chief curator, Scott A. Shields. Many of the works will remain on view as part of the Museum’s permanent collection beyond an extended period of display.
The Crocker is at 216 O St., Sacramento; call 916-808-7000 for more information.