March 24, 2015 - California & American Fine Art Auction

Use the quick index below for faster catalogue navigation
Lot# | 001-012 | 013-024 | 025-036 | 037-048 | 049-060 | 061-072 | 073-084 | 085-096 | 097-108 | 109-120 | 121-132 | 133-144 | 145-156 | 157-168 | 169-180 | 181-192 | 193-204 | 205-216 | 217-228 | 229-240 | 241-252 | 253-264 | 265-270

Lot# 102 Arthur F. Mathews (1860-1945 San Francisco, CA)


Study for ''The Arts'', Palace of Fine Arts with Allegorical Figures, gouache and graphite on paper under Plexiglas, domed rectangle: 26.75'' H x 16.5'' W, est: $30,000/40,000
*Price Realized: $19800.00


signed and inscribed on an original paper label now mounted to a backing board: Study for Decoration / Arthur F. Mathews. Exhibited: Art Department, Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, CA, ''A Century of California Painting 1870 - 1970'', sponsored by Crocker-Citizens National Bank, December 1970 - January 1971, no. 51, traveling exhibition, illustrated on posters for the exhibition; Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, CA, ''Mathews: Masterpieces of the California Style'', 1972, no. 65. Literature: H.J. Jones, ''The Art of Arthur & Lucia Mathews'', San Francisco, CA, 2006, pp. 69-71, ''The Arts'' mural in oil illustrated. Note: Although the present work is technically the preparatory study for Arthur F. Mathews' 1917 mural painted for the entrance hall of the Mechanics' Institute Library in San Francisco, the exquisite detail and near-finished composition reveal the artist's rigorous and thorough process of creation.

Mathews was originally commissioned by his private client Rudolph J. Taussig to create a public mural for the Mechanics? Institute Library on Post Street in San Francisco during a 1904 renovation. That original mural shared elements and symbolism with the later composition including an allegorical figural group of women and mechanics at work constructing an elaborate columned building, but was horizontal in composition and incorporated a eucalyptus landscape in the background. ''Deemed to be the finest of its kind in the city, [the 1904 mural] was expected to establish a precedent for the beautification of public buildings'' (H.L. Jones, ''The Art of Arthur & Lucia Mathews'', San Francisco, CA, p. 69).

Unfortunately, the library, along with its mural, was destroyed in the earthquake and fire of 1906.

In 1917, after more than a decade of reconstruction on the Institute, Mathews presented a replacement mural in a 14 feet by 8 feet format fitted for a narrower entrance hall of the rebuilt library. This second mural, as well as the present preparatory painting, adheres to the artist's original theme. ''Titled 'The Arts', the work confers special dignity in acknowledgement of the patron institution by integrating the mechanical arts and architecture with nature and a spiritual component, and incorporating the expected allusions to the fine arts'' (H.L. Jones, p. 69).

Harvey L. Jones writes of the monumental mural, ''According to one writer's contemporary account of Mathews' new version of the allegorical content of the mural, the artist introduced four symbolic figures 'signifying the spiritual light of knowledge, and the strength and power attained through knowledge'. In the left foreground, as the spiritual component, Mathews positioned a young Franciscan friar clutching a Bible to his chest and standing among three female figures wearing artfully decorated Grecian gowns. The leading figure of the group holds a small statue of the winged figure that signifies the ideal. Another carries a blossoming branch that alludes to nature, and the third, a blond woman on the far left wearing the most colorful attire, seems to represent beauty and the arts. It was suggested by another writer that the four allegorical figures symbolize such abstract concepts as music, thought, philosophy, and the ideal. The figural group's attention is directed toward the efforts of the laborers, stonecutters, and the carpenters seen in the background, where smoke rises from the chimney of an ironworker's forge as the toil on the unfinished structure'' (H.L. Jones, p. 71).

Much of Jones' description for the mural can also be applied to Mathews' preliminary painting with a few minor composition changes, most notably a white-bearded old man in the study becomes a much younger Bible-holding Franciscan friar. The freshness and immediacy of the present work gives it a lively, painterly quality that the artist subdued in the finished mural. The pastel-dominant palette of the sketch lightens the composition in contrast to the muted tones of the mural. The artist's carefully drafted graphite structure and decoration lines are visible, particularly in the architectural elements, and provide the viewer with a glimpse into the artist's careful and exacting method. Layered over these controlled arrangements is spontaneous and confident brushwork that fleshes out both the elaborately dressed symbolic figures and the vignettes of mechanics at work constructing the buildings.

An unfinished graphite sketch of hands holding an object verso.

Together with Harvey Jones' hardbound book ''The Art of Arthur & Lucia Mathews'' and a Crocker-Citizens National Bank-sponsored framed exhibition poster. Provenance: Mr. and Mrs. Anthony R. White, Hillsborough, CA; John H. Garzoli, San Francisco, CA, acquired from the above; Estate of Gordon and Joan Spencer, Nordland, WA. Condition: Visual: Generally good condition. The paper toned and with soiling, particularly in the margins. Burn along all four margin edges. Tiny nibbles in the lower center and lower right margin edges. Hinged with archival linen hinge tape in the upper corners and upper center to the back mat. Artist's pinholes in the upper corners and lower right corner.

Click here to return to previous menu

Use the quick index below for faster catalogue navigation
Lot# | 001-012 | 013-024 | 025-036 | 037-048 | 049-060 | 061-072 | 073-084 | 085-096 | 097-108 | 109-120 | 121-132 | 133-144 | 145-156 | 157-168 | 169-180 | 181-192 | 193-204 | 205-216 | 217-228 | 229-240 | 241-252 | 253-264 | 265-270

Artist Index


Abril, Ben 200
Adams, Charles Partridge 45, 89, 90
Askenazy, Mischa 72

Beal, Reynolds 76
Benson, Frank Weston 50
Benton, Thomas Hart 49
Billington, John Jules 192, 193
Bischoff, Franz A. 248, 249
Bonnet, Leon 219
Borg, Carl Oscar 33, 98, 225
Botke, Jessie Arms 106, 109
Bower, Alexander 218
Bradbury, Bennett 239
Brandriff, George K. 74
Braun, Maurice 62, 208
Breuer, Henry Joseph 10
Brookes, Samuel Marsden 112
Brown, Benjamin Chambers 31
Buff, Conrad 183, 184
Bunkall, Richard 56
Burgdorff, Ferdinand 234, 243
Burliuk, David 60

Chase, Frank Swift 221
Chittenden, Alice Brown 64
Clark, Alson Skinner 224
Coburn, Frank 146
Cohen, Larry 191
Cooper, Colin Campbell 105, 139
Couse, Eanger Irving 35
Coutts, Gordon 143, 144, 145
Cuprien, Frank W. 30
Curtis, Leland 161

Davis, Stark 108
DeWolfe, Sarah Bender 65
Dixon, Maynard 103
Dougherty, Paul 13, 14, 119
Drogkamp, Charles Henry 57

Edwards, George Wharton 71
Espoy, Angel 88, 237

Farr, Charles Griffin 110
Fechin, Nicolai 227, 228
Fetherolf, James A. 37, 78, 79, 188, 257, 264
Forest, Lockwood de 9
Forkner, Edgar 220
Forsythe, Clyde 131, 182
Fortune, E. Charlton 207
Francisco, John Bond 115, 155
Fries, Charles Arthur 7
Frost, John 91, 152, 153, 216

Gamble, John Marshall 132, 231
Gasser, Henry Martin 51
Gay, August 122
Geisel, Theodor (Dr. Seuss) 270
Gilbert, Arthur Hill 137, 233
Gile, Selden Connor 26, 27
Gleason, Joe Duncan 77
Gluckmann, Grigory 67
Goodwin, Arthur Clifton 58
Goodwin, Philip Russell 215
Gray, Percy 15, 32, 101
Griffith, Louis Oscar 48
Griffith, William Alexander 94
Grimm, Paul 2, 39, 41, 42, 125, 126, 176, 177, 178, 185, 186, 187
Groesbeck, Daniel Sayre 226
Grue, Frederik E. 267

Hansen, Armin Carl 17, 18, 120
Harmer , Alexander F. 114
Harris, Sam Hyde 4, 29, 128, 129, 130, 134, 136, 180, 256, 258, 259, 265
Hight, William Webster 189, 190
Hills, Anna A. 86
Hills, Attributed to Anna A. 87
Hilton, John W. 260, 261, 262
Hinkle, Clarence 168, 198
Holmes, Ralph 124
Holmwood, Loren 75

Jackson, William Franklin 19
Jansson, Attributed to Alfred 47
Judson, William Lees 141

Keane, Margaret 269
Keener, Anna Elizabeth 159
Keith, Attributed to William 117
Keller, Edgar 140
Kilpatrick, Aaron 205
Kinkade, Thomas 160
Kleitsch, Joseph 61
Kosa Jr., Emil J. 162, 164, 169, 170, 199, 204, 250, 263
Kovner, Saul 53, 54, 55, 201

Lauritz, Paul 36, 43, 232
Laycox, Jack 194, 197
Lee, Jake 195
Leonard, Julia Ives 66
Lewis, Emerson 151
Liljestrom, Gustave 242
Logan, Maurice 123

Mannheim, Jean 46, 93
Martinez, Xavier 121
Mathews, Arthur F. 102
Miller, Attributed to Alfred Jacob 213
Mitchell, Alfred R. 3, 52
Moessel, Julius 111
Moore, Frank Montague 244
Moran, Earl 69
Morgan, Mary DeNeale 16, 99

Nichols, Hobart 217
Nielsen, Peter 173

Orry-Kelly, George 59
Otis, George Demont 238
Otte, William Louis 241

Paradise, Phil 251
Payne, Edgar A. 1, 20, 21, 222, 223
Pelton, Agnes 147
Phillips, James March 196
Price, William Henry 247
Puthuff, Hanson Duvall 38, 95, 157, 179, 206, 212, 229, 230

Raphael, Joseph 104
Redmond, Granville 8, 84
Richter, Henry Leopold 266
Ritschel, William 118
Rix, Julian Walbridge 116
Rose, Guy Orlando 142, 85

Sammons, Carl 12, 245
Sandzen, Birger 25
Scholder, Fritz 172
Scott, Clyde Eugene 255
Sharp, Joseph Henry 63, 82
Sheets, Millard Owen 165, 166, 171
Silva, William Posey 11, 73
Smith, Charles L.A. 138
Smith, Jack Wilkinson 83
Sonntag, William Louis 214
Spangenberg, George 5, 6, 23, 24, 149, 150
Sparks, Will 156
Strong, Ray 246
Stuber, Dedrick Brandes 44, 209, 210
Swinnerton, James 158
Symons, George Gardner 96

Troccoli, Giovanni Battista 113

Villa, Hernando G. 154
Von Schneidau, Christian 28

Wachtel, Marion Kavanagh 97, 100, 133, 211
Waugh, Frederick Judd 70
Wendt, William 92, 174
White, Orrin A. 34, 135, 175
Wood, Robert W. 40, 80, 81, 127, 202, 203, 235, 236, 253, 254
Wores, Theodore 22

Yeager, Ira 268
Yuan, Si Chen 181

Zornes, Milford 163, 167, 252

Sign up for Newsletters and Alerts

Join the JMA Family today! Sign up for our newsletter and auction alerts

* required

*

*

*