Theme/Style California Modernism, California Regionalism
Media Oils, pastels, watercolors, sculpture, lithographs
Artistic Focus John Mottram’s early canvases, whether oils or pastels, showed a preference for Cezannesque portraits and still lifes in high key colors. Mottram was known for fresh, spontaneous compositions that depicted the people and places in his life. With his use of vibrant, even brilliant, colors, and a precisionist style, whether he was painting a still life, a city scene or a bucolic countryside view, he helped define the California Regionalist tradition. He also was recognized for his ability to create an imposing sense of scale, whether by juxtaposing a small individual in a vast forest, or by placing an imposing tunnel of trees before a city spread out in the background.
• He began his art education in 1924 at the California
School of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley, where he studied for two years.
He then became a drawing student of Perham Nahl at the University of California,
Berkeley, and a sculpture student of Ralph Stackpole at the San Francisco
Additional biographical material and full bibliographic references are available upon request.
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