Laguna Beach, CA
The landscape painter Anna Althea Hills (1882–1930) was one of the highly talented artists whose presence in the community helped put Laguna Beach on the map as a premier art colony during the first decades of the twentieth century.
Born in Ravenna, Ohio, she studied at Olivet College in Michigan, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Cooper Union Art School in New York City. ... Like many art students during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Hills continued her studies in Europe, attending the Académie Julian in Paris and traveling in Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, and the British Isles. In England she studied with John Noble Barlow in the art colony at St. Ives, Cornwall. Returning to the United States, in 1913 she established her home and studio in Laguna Beach.
At the time she was working in an impressionistic technique, but her palette was muted, dominated by low-key tones that reflected the northern light and atmosphere of England and Holland. Once in California, like other artists, she responded to the bright light and rich, colorful landscape. She remarked that she had to throw out her old palette and start over with brighter colors. She traveled throughout Southern California and Arizona, and became particularly attracted to the desert landscape. She worked primarily in oil, using both a brush and a palette knife. Her palette knife work is highly distinctive, setting her works apart from those of her contemporaries. She was fond of portraying dramatic cloud effects, often setting a low horizon line in order to give the sky dominance in the composition.
(...) The exhibition showcases over forty of Hills’s paintings along with documentary materials relating to her life and work in Laguna Beach. It is curated by Janet Blake, the museum’s curator of historical art, and accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website