The Spanish Colonial Revival has been part of the aesthetic fabric of Southern California for 100 years. While claiming ties to Colonial Spain and Mexico via their cultural and design traditions, the style was based largely on myth and invention. Influenced by such diverse sources as the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and the popular Ramona novel and pageants, Californian architects and designers adapted Spanish Colonial, Mission, ecclesiastical, and native elements to create romanticized perceptions of California for a burgeoning tourism industry.
The Riverside Art Museum will present the first survey of the Spanish Colonial Revival style in the architecture and the decorative arts of the Inland Empire, where this style flourished, as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an initiative of the Getty with arts institutions across Southern California. [....]
Landmarks such as Myron Hunt's First Congregational Church of Riverside (1912–1914) and the historic Mission Inn Hotel are spectacular amalgamations of the historic and the imagined. The exhibition will use architectural and archival materials, decorative arts, paintings, and photographs to explore the style's origins and continuing popularity.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, Spanish Colonial Style: Santa Barbara and the Architecture of James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig is an ode to the classic Spanish-style houses of Santa Barbara. Spanish Colonial Style celebrates an extraordinary tradition in architecture whose hallmarks include whitewashed stucco and plaster walls, wood-beamed ceilings, dramatic fireplaces, and, above all, mystery and romance. Homes in this much-loved style of architecture welcome the visitor and embrace the resident, and architects James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig, early proponents of the style and influential disseminators of it, were masters of the form. Their work, until now, has been largely underappreciated and little seen.
The Craigs played pivotal roles in the development of the Spanish Colonial Revival and of other styles of architecture in Santa Barbara, and the influence of their work spread much beyond that. In addition to shining a long overdue spotlight on the rich career of these tremendously influential architects, Spanish Colonial Style also heralds Santa Barbara as the small city of international importance that it became in the first half of the twentieth century.