Sisters in Art
246 pages
English

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246 pages
English

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Description

ADS: targeted for IPS gift promotions; social media ads to target audiences.

AWARDS: submitted for regional; art; women’s; history categories.

EVENTS: targeted for Indie stores, libraries, galleries, museums, as well as locations like Feminist Art History Conference; National Women’s History Museum/“Chronicles of American Women”; National Women's History Alliance; California Art Club, etc.

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TRADESHOW: features including targeted CALIBA author presentation, ALA giveaways, gift show and art history conference promotions.

With color photographs and artwork, Sisters in Art is the first biography to capture the lives and works of Margaret, Esther, and Helen Bruton, three exceptionally talented sisters whose mark on the California modernist art scene still impacts our world.

"Great stories abound in this book, including the goings-on of the 'Monterey Group' of painters and an encounter with a teetotaling Henri Matisse at a North Beach cocktail party. If California had a Belle Époque, this was it. From their chubby-cheeked 'Gibson Girl' childhood through their sunlit dotage, the Brutons were exemplars of many aspects of California history and, in recent years, overlooked. Good’s book corrects this."
Library Journal

"Both beautiful and substantial, Sisters in Art: The Biography of Margaret, Esther, and Helen Bruton. . . would make a great gift for the art lover in your life […] The book contains detailed-but-lively accounts of the sisters' lives and work, and is filled with black-and-white and color plates of their art."
The Carmel Pine Cone

"An illuminating and heroic work... [Good] writes vividly about how all three Brutons continued to make art until the very end of their lives."
Jasmin Darznik, New York Times–bestselling author of The Bohemians

Educated at art schools in New York and Paris, the Brutons ran in elite artistic circles and often found themselves in the company of luminaries including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Henri Matisse, Armin Hansen, Maynard Dixon, Imogen Cunningham, and Ansel Adams. Their contemporaries described the sisters as geniuses, for they were bold experimenters who excelled in a wide variety of mediums and styles, each eventually finding a specialization that expressed her best: Margaret turned to oil paintings, watercolors, and terrazzo tabletops; Esther became known for her murals, etchings, fashion illustrations, and decorative screens; and Helen lost herself in large-scale mosaics.

Although celebrated for their achievements during the 1920s and 1930s, the Brutons cared little about fame, failing to promote themselves or their work. Over time, the "famous Bruton sisters" and their impressive art careers were nearly forgotten. Now for the first time, Sisters in Art reveals the contributions of Margaret, Esther, and Helen Bruton as their works continue to inspire and find new appreciation today.


PROLOGUE: Lost in the Fire (October 1991)

CHAPTER ONE: An Attic in Alameda (1894–1915)

CHAPTER TWO: “The Brutons and How They Grew”: Studies in Art (1916–1926)

CHAPTER THREE: Margaret Bruton and “The Golden Age of Monterey” (1921–1928)

CHAPTER FOUR: “Three True Artists” (1929–1930)

CHAPTER FIVE: “Things Got Simpler”: The First Years of the Depression (1930–1935)

CHAPTER SIX: Esther Bruton: “An Extraordinarily Elastic Mind” (1935–1939)

CHAPTER SEVEN: Helen Bruton and “The Modern Mosaic Revival” (1933–1939)

CHAPTER EIGHT: “A Beautiful Array of Special Problems”: The Golden Gate International Exposition (1938–1940)

CHAPTER NINE: “We Prefer a Living Art”: Moving into Decorative Arts (1940s)

CHAPTER TEN: “A Truly Monumental Art Project” (1950s)

CHAPTER ELEVEN: “A Little Like Rip Van Winkle” (1960–1992)

EPILOGUE: A Legacy Restored

AUTHOR’S NOTE

ENDNOTES

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

IMAGE CREDITS

INDEX

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 26 octobre 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781513289526
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 43 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0750€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

SISTERS IN ART
THE BIOGRAPHY OF MARGARET, ESTHER, AND HELEN BRUTON
WENDY VAN WYCK GOOD
Text © 2021 by Wendy Van Wyck Good
Edited by Emily Bowles
Indexed by Sam Arnold-Boyd
Copyright to archival photographs on page 221 – 22
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the publisher.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Good, Wendy Van Wyck, author.
Title: Sisters in art : the biography of Margaret, Esther, and Helen Bruton / Wendy Van Wyck Good.
Description: Berkeley : West Margin Press, 2021. | Includes bibliographical references and index. | Summary: “Written by the foremost expert on the Bruton sisters, this is the first detailed history on the incredible lives and contributions of California modernist artists Margaret, Esther, and Helen Bruton”—Provided by publisher.
Identifiers: LCCN 2021013961 (print) | LCCN 2021013960 (ebook) | ISBN 9781513289519 (hardback) | ISBN 9781513289526 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: Bruton family. | Bruton, Margaret, 1894-1983. | Bruton, Esther, 1896-1992. | Bruton, Helen, 1898-1985. | Artists—United States—Biography. | Women artists—United States—Biography. | California—Biography.
Classification: LCC N6537.B815 2021 (print) | LCC N6537.B815 (ebook) | DDC 709.2/52—dc23
LC record available at https:// lccn .loc .gov /2021013961
LC ebook record available at https:// lccn .loc .gov /2021013960
Proudly distributed by Ingram Publisher Services
Printed in China
25 24 23 22 21 1 2 3 4 5
Published by West Margin Press ®
WestMarginPress.com
WEST MARGIN PRESS
Publishing Director: Jennifer Newens
Marketing Manager: Alice Wertheimer
Project Specialist: Micaela Clark
Editor: Olivia Ngai
Design & Production: Rachel Lopez Metzger
Contents PROLOGUE: Lost in the Fire (October 1991) CHAPTER ONE: An Attic in Alameda (1894–1916) CHAPTER TWO: “The Brutons and How They Grew”: Studies in Art (1917–1926) CHAPTER THREE: Margaret Bruton and “The Golden Age of Monterey” (1921–1928) CHAPTER FOUR: “Three True Artists” (1929–1930) CHAPTER FIVE: “Things Got Simpler”: The First Years of the Depression (1930–1935) CHAPTER SIX: Esther Bruton: “An Extraordinarily Elastic Mind” (1935–1939) CHAPTER SEVEN: Helen Bruton and “The Modern Mosaic Revival” (1933–1939) CHAPTER EIGHT: “A Beautiful Array of Special Problems”: The Golden Gate International Exposition (1938–1940) CHAPTER NINE: “We Prefer a Living Art”: Moving into the Decorative Arts (1940s) CHAPTER TEN: “A Truly Monumental Art Project” (1950s) CHAPTER ELEVEN: “A Little Like Rip Van Winkle” (1960–1992) EPILOGUE: A Legacy Restored AUTHOR’S NOTE ENDNOTES SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY IMAGE CREDITS INDEX
PROLOGUE Lost in the Fire
(October 1991)
October 19, 1991, a Saturday morning, dawned clear and balmy in Northern California. The residents of the tranquil San Francisco Bay community of Oakland Hills woke up to what looked like a pleasant day. Located west of downtown Oakland, the Oakland Hills are altogether different from the urban center—a largely rural area with winding roads and superb views of the bay. Within easy commuting distance to Berkeley and San Francisco, it is an appealing location for both the edgy and the affluent, attracting professors, artists, writers, business executives, and prosperous professionals.
As is true of many hillside areas in California, this region has had its share of devastating wildfires. In 1923, 1970, and 1980, major conflagrations raged through the Oakland Hills, leaving mass destruction in their wakes. Despite the risk, the land retains its appeal; after each fire, homes were rebuilt and the hills were quickly repopulated. Since California rarely receives precipitation between May and November, the greatest danger for wildfires is in the fall. In October 1991, after five years of drought, the Oakland Hills were particularly arid.
That Saturday afternoon, a small brush fire broke out in the Oakland Hills just northwest of CA Route 24 and the Caldecott Tunnel. Oakland firefighters responded and, by evening, believed they had completely extinguished the blaze as they saw no more signs of smoke or flames. Embers covered by fallen debris, however, continued to smolder unseen. Early the next morning, dry Diablo winds moved in from the east, blowing the hot embers onto nearby dry vegetation. Fanned by unrelenting wind, the blaze spread rapidly into several new locations—canyons and hillsides not easily accessible to firefighters. Just after 11:30 a.m., the incident commander reported that the fire, now larger than one hundred acres, was “totally out of control.”
Police and fire personnel were sent to evacuate homeowners in the fire’s path, but many of the twisting roads were already engulfed in flames and impassable. As exit routes became clogged with evacuating cars, power lines fell across streets and ignited new fires, adding to the confusion. Many did not have time to evacuate or were unsuccessful in their attempts to outrun the blaze. As the Los Angeles Times reported, “Most of the victims apparently didn’t realize just how rapidly the fire was moving as it swept up from a neighboring canyon and over the hilltop… And when they did, it was too late.” Tragically, twenty-five people lost their lives and more than 150 were injured. Nearly 10,000 people were left homeless and the cost of the blaze has been estimated at $1.5 billion.
One of the many structures lost in the Oakland Hills fire was the home of art collectors Walter A. Nelson-Rees and James L. Coran. Nelson-Rees was a renowned geneticist at the University of California at Berkeley whose discovery of and research on the cross-contamination of cell lines in labs shook the scientific world. In addition to his work in genetics, Nelson-Rees spent many years building a premier collection of early twentieth-century California art. A knowledgeable and savvy collector who saw value in underappreciated works, he and Coran acquired nearly 1,000 important artworks, including paintings by Albert Bierstadt, Maynard Dixon, Francis McComas, Selden Connor Gile, and Louis Siegrist. Their collection was valued at close to $45 million. In 1991, Nelson-Rees and Coran were preparing for a major museum exhibition of their paintings, and a beautifully illustrated exhibition catalog had already been printed.
Everything changed on October 20, 1991, when the paintings owned by Nelson-Rees and Coran were lost to the Oakland Hills fire. Afterwards, a devastated Nelson-Rees lamented, “I couldn’t believe it. Why did our house burn? We had a metal roof, insulation. We’re all so vulnerable.” Art dealer John Garzoli described the significance of the tragedy: “They had No. 1 [ sic ] works by so many artists that can’t be replaced, this is a major loss to the American art world.”
Some of the artworks destroyed that day were by Margaret Bruton and Helen Bruton, artists and sisters who grew up in the nearby city of Alameda. Margaret, Helen, and their other sister, Esther, who was also a talented artist, were frequently referred to as a single unit: “the Bruton Sisters.” All born in the 1890s, the Brutons were celebrities of the California art scene in the 1920s and 1930s, and each had a distinct and remarkable art career. They traveled in elite artistic circles and boldly experimented and excelled in a wide variety of styles and mediums. They were lauded by the press and won many art prizes. In 1939, at the height of their fame, they executed a masterful 8,000-square-foot mural for the Golden Gate International Exposition, the largest artwork at the fair. They were paid $20,000 for the work (more than $350,000 in today’s dollars), a staggering sum to earn during the Great Depression.
The Bruton sisters were exceptionally talented, and their personal lives were complex and full of contradictions. Despite having been born into a life of privilege, they lived frugally and blended seamlessly into the bohemian art communities that embraced them. Although celebrated for their achievements, they cared little about fame and did not promote themselves nor their work. The press emphasized their lithe beauty and sharp wit, yet the sisters remained fiercely independent, prioritizing art-making over becoming wives or mothers. For each of them, art was their greatest passion.
Among the artworks destroyed in the Oakland Hills fire were Margaret’s striking modernist portraits of her parents, which received rave reviews in the 1920s, and her landscape Mining Mountains , which won multiple prizes in the 1930s. Helen’s iconic painting Beach Picnic , which captured the bohemian spirit of the Monterey art colony in the 1920s, was also destroyed. Given the catastrophic losses of life and property in the Oakland Hills fire, it is not surprising that little attention was given in the press to these works of art. Fire aside, by 1991, the fame and achievements of the Bruton sisters had already been nearly lost to history.
Like many women artists of the early twentieth century, the Brutons have been, for the most part, left out of the artistic canon. Despite their success in the early twentieth century, their careers were impacted by the changing post-World War II art scene, when modernism came to be associated with

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