San Diego, CA
The natural beauty and temperate climate of the American Southwest have attracted artists since the nineteenth century. Like the East Coast artists of the Hudson River School (whose work is featured in the American Art galleries), landscape painters in California and New Mexico associated the mountains and deserts of the Southwest with the American myth of “Manifest Destiny.”
In images devoid of the cruel realities of colonization, the native inhabitants who would be displaced by this westward expansion were commonly portrayed as picturesque peoples carrying on a traditional way of life. Many landscape painters in Southern California chose to work out of doors, a European tradition that French termed plein air.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.