California Bounty is the first curatorial interpretation of the museum’s distinguished painting collection since 1994. Viewers will take a rambling journey through California's visual history, a history shaped by a unique mixture of Mexican and Anglo traditions as well as the state’s position on the Pacific Rim. Each painting epitomizes California’s land, people and offerings as a place of produce and plenty. The exhibition brings together many of the museum’s most cherished paintings, including works by early artists documenting the Mission and Rancho periods; landscapes by plein air painters portraying California’s coasts and canyons; sumptuous portraits and still-life paintings of flowers and paper-wrapped fruit by Alberta and William McCloskey; and a small selection of works indicating California as a continued place of possibility. This will be the first public display of many of the selected paintings, some of which have spent years in storage.
A catalog, Legacy of Bounty: Paintings from the Bowers Museum will delve even deeper into the museum’s assemblage of paintings. Focusing on the breadth of the collection, the hardbound catalog will include 138 of the museum’s most important historic, plein air, American and European paintings. The catalog will include two essays, one recounting the 80-year story behind the collection’s formation, and another by California Bounty curator Susan M. Anderson that focuses on the core of the museum’s collection - California paintings. This first and only catalog focusing on the Bowers’ painting collection is a must have for any art enthusiast. The exhibition and the catalog are generously sponsored by the Bowers Museum’s California Art Council.