Monday, June 18, 2012

Edgar Payne: Master California Impressionist

Edgar Payne (1883-1947) is one of my favorite painters of the California Impressionist school. That's because his paintings have strong composition supported by equally strong brushwork appropriate to his subjects.

Wikipedia has a reasonably detailed entry for him here.

Besides his art work, Payne collected his views on art in his book "Composition of Outdoor Painting" that was first published in 1941 and is still in print. I bought a copy several years ago, but have yet to work my way through it. It contains useful information, but be warned that the first 30 or 40 pages are verbal hand-waving about art and the artist. Obviously Payne considered these matters important, but to me his ramblings are a waste of both paper and the reader's time.

Another book, and one I consider well worth adding to one's library, is "Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey" which is an extremely well illustrated catalog for a current exhibit of his work.

Speaking, of Payne's work, let's take a look:


Rugged Slopes and Tamarack - 1919
Payne is best known for paintings such as this. Where a specific place is not in the name of the paintings, it's likely that Payne created the image from sketches done at different places and combined the details.

The Sierra Divide

The Rendezvous (Santa Cruz Island) - 1915

Laguna Coastline

Sycamore in Autumn - c.1917

Along the Riviera, Menton, France - 1922

Brittany Fishing Boats - c.1924

Sunset, Canyon de Chelly - 1916


dearieme said...

The landscape historian Oliver Rackham says that almost no European paints trees in such a way that you can unambiguously identify the species. How about Americans, Australians....?

Donald Pittenger said...

dearieme -- I can hardly tell apart a pine from a maple, so I'm in no position to judge what's being painted. Maybe another reader knows.

SimonLA said...

The full version of the documentary film Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey is now available online:

Hope you enjoy.

btw, PMCA is working on a new retrospective, with Crocker's Scott Shields, on Monterey Artist ARMIN HANSEN, scheduled to open in January 2015.