The Journal of San Diego History
Spring 1986, Volume 32, Number 2
Thomas L. Scharf, Editor

Book Review

Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor

Publications in Southern California Art 1, 2, & 3.

By Nancy Dustin Wall Moure. Los Angeles: Privately Printed, 1975. Three volumes in one reprint, 1984. Available from Apollo Book, 5 Schoolhouse Lane, Poughkeepsie, New York. 450 Pages. $80.00 Cloth.

Reviewed by Bruce Kamerling, Curator of Collections, San Diego Historical Society.

When Nancy Moure’s Dictionary of Art and Artists in Southern California was first published in 1975, it was immediately recognized as a landmark in the study of California’s art history. The third and final volume in Moure’s Publications in Southern California Art (PSCA), the original 500 paperback copies quickly sold out. Now, for the first time, all three volumes of the PSCA series are available in a single hardback edition.

PSCA Number One is an index to the first thirty-four exhibitions of the California Watercolor Society from 1921 to 1954. An introductory historical note about watercolor painting in California is followed by an alphabetical index of the more than 700 artists who exhibited, and the date and title of each painting shown. Several San Diego artists exhibited with this group, and entries can be found for Anni Baldaugh, Dan Dickey, Alice Klauber and Ivan Messenger, among others. It is also interesting to note the inclusion of such nationally important figures as Charles Burchfield, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth.

PSCA Number Two is a listing of Southern California artists’ clubs, and an index to Los Angeles art exhibitions. The first part contains historical sketches of over sixty art organizations founded before 1930, including several from San Diego. The second section contains an index to over eighty art exhibitions held in Los Angeles from 1914 to 1938, with alphabetical listings for over 1000 artists, plus the date and title for each piece exhibited, including all media. Many San Diego artists were members of or exhibited with these Los Angeles groups and over thirty local artists are represented in the index, several with extensive listings.

PSCA Number Three is the biographical dictionary containing entries for about 3000 artists active in Southern California before 1930. An introduction to Southern California art by the late Carl Dentzel of the Southwest Museum is followed by a chronology of important events, artists’ arrivals, organization founding, etc. The major portion of this volume consists of biographical sketches with extensive bibliographical references for many of the artists. Nearly 150 San Diego County artists are included in this listing.

At the time she prepared this material, Nancy Moure was a member of the curatorial staff of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A curator’s sense of detail is apparent in every aspect of the publications, and the wealth of material presented is remarkable. The third edition has not been expanded to cover any new names, but it does include a section containing more than 350 recently discovered birth and death dates for artists previously listed as well as a bibliography of recent books on the subject. The major regret with this new edition is the elimination of the illustrations found at the back of the original edition. The publishers are to be thanked for making this important series accessible once again. It is essential to any study of the artistic heritage of Southern California.