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Mount Shasta as a Visual Resource

Mid-20th Century Artists of Mount Shasta: 1930s-1950s

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Diego Rivera (1886-1957)

Diego Rivera, the 20th Century Mexican painter of murals, came to San Francisco in 1940 to create the Pan American Unity mural. This work, which includes a glimpse of Mount Shasta, is considered by some to be "arguably the most important work of art created in the Bay Area" (quoted in: http://www.riveramural.org/rivera/mural/index.html). The 5-panel work, originally created for the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1940, is today a major tourist attraction at City College of San Francisco, where the work resides. Rivera was a controversial artist for most of his career, holding to radical political ideas and painting in a social realist style that emphasized the contributions of the working class as well as the struggles of the intellectuals. He was one of a handful of Mexican artists who brought about the "Mexican Mural Renaissance" which championed pre-Spanish roots of the Mexican people and as well sought to point out the exploitation inherent in the modern systems of labor and industry.

Rivera says of Panel 5, in which Mount Shasta stands: "Just as the plastic tradition of the South penetrated into the North, the creative mechanical power of the North enriched life in the South. I depicted the greatness of the North in such engineering achievements as Shasta Dam, oil derricks, bridges set near the American peaks of Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen, and in portraits of such geniuses as Ford, Morse, and Fulton, the last two of whom were artists as well as inventors."
See:
http://www.riveramural.org/rivera/mural/index.html.

Panel 5 of the Diego Rivera mural at City College of San Francisco.  Courtesy of City College of San Francisco.  All rights reserved. Unauthorized public performance, broad-
casting, transmission, or copying, mechanical or electronic, is a violation
of applicable laws.   City College of San Francisco. www.riveramural.com
Panel 5 of Diego Rivera's Pan American Unity mural at City College of San Francisco.

Key to #50. "Mounts Lassen and Shasta, northern California volcanoes of the Cascade Range. Depicted below is the building of Shasta Dam. Symbolizing the pioneering industrial efforts going on in the western United States are oil derricks, hydralic mining, gold panning, modern agriculture, a train, and pylons carrying electricity."

Courtesy of City College of San Francisco.
All rights reserved. Unauthorized public performance, broad- casting, transmission,
or copying, mechanical or electronic, is a violation of applicable laws.
City College of San Francisco
www.riveramural.com.

Robert W. Wood (1889-1979)

Robert W. Wood was one of the most prolific of mid-century California artists (though he is also known as a Texas artist because of his time spent in that state. Because so much of Wood's art was reproduced during his lifetime in large editions as lithographs, posters, etc., there is a tendency to dismiss the artist as 'commercial.' Such a view is justified in that many of his paintings were indeed lackluster commercial works. But a look at some of his High Sierra or Texas Bluebonnet landscapes is to reveal a great talent. Born in England he came to the U.S. in 1911 and by the 20s and 30s had moved to Texas where he painted what are now highly sought after 'Texas Bluebonnet' paintings. By the 1940s he moved to California and lived in Carmel and later in Laguna Beach where he was a member of the Laguna Art Association. He moved to Bishop, California where he lived and worked for many years until his death. His Sierra paintings, many of them highly accomplished and beautiful, are now being rediscovered by art collectors.Wood signed his paintings "Robert Wood," but according to Charla's Robert Wood Gallery (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/6337/index.html), Robert Wood has also signed paintings with the pseudonyms "Trebor," and as "G. Day". See also "The Last Mountain," by Violet Sigoloff Flume, which is a biography of Robert W. Wood.

Oil painting of Mount Shasta by Robert Wood.  Courtesy of Morseburg Galleries (seeking permission).
Mount Shasta by Robert Wood.
Oil painting, 25" x 30".
Courtesy of Morseburg Galleries (seeking permission).

John August Dominique (1893-1994)

John Dominique lived to be over 100 years old. At around the age 20 he embarked on a career of art, and for the next 80 years he participated in the art world of California. He studied art first in San Francisco, then Portland, and later Santa Barbara. Among his many teachers were Colin Campbell Cooper and Carl Oscar Borg. He was a landscape painter, but produced many abstract paintings seeming unrelated to his better known landscapes. For a biography of John Dominique see: Berney, Charlotte. John Dominique: Poet of Landscape (http://www.kerwingalleries.com/dominiqueinfo.htm).

Mount Shasta by John Dominique.  Courtesy of Kerwin Gallery.
Mount Shasta by John Dominique.
Oil on Canvas Board, 10" x 14".
Courtesy of Kerwin Gallery.

William Dakin

Will Dakin was a fine artist who lived and worked in Burlingame, California. He was well-known as an artist in that community; his home, locally known in Burlingame as the "Will Dakin House," has in its name retained a memory of his spirit. The painting of Mount Shasta reproduced here, one of at least three he created of the mountain, accurately captures the mountain, the evening light, and the small town look and feeling of Mount Shasta City of the 1950s.

Mount Shasta City by William Dakin, 1951.  Courtesy of Burlingame Antiques.
Mount Shasta City by William Dakin, 1951
Courtesy of Burlingame Antiques

 

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