The Art of Arthur and Lucia Matthews

The Art of Arthur and Lucia Matthews,
Softcover book, 272 pages.

The Art of Arthur and Lucia Matthews,
Hardcover smyth-sewn casebound book, with jacket.

San Francisco artists Arthur F. Mathews (1860-1945) and Lucia K. Mathews (1870-1955) produced murals, easel paintings, furniture, interior design, graphics, wooden frames, and other objects in what has come to be known as the California Decorative Style. Arthur’s easel paintings and murals placed figures of myth and allegory in idyllic California settings that evoke a new Arcadia, where they danced, in fanciful Greek garb, through light-filled landscapes. Similarly prolific, Lucia painted portraits, landscapes, and botanicals in a soft color palette; her dreamy, windswept scenes of the Monterey Peninsula are accented with diffused light and a golden glow. Her expertise as a decorative artist established her as one of the leading artists of early-twentieth-century California.

Committed to their mission of treasuring the California they knew and loved, while urging their community forward in the quest for high artistic values, Arthur and Lucia Mathews were key players in California history and in encouraging a West Coast aesthetic. As the leaders of the California Decorative Style, they hold an important and honored place in the history of all American art.

The Art of Arthur and Lucia Mathews is the most comprehensive Mathews retrospective ever published. A thorough overview of the decorative arts as they evolved in California, it also surveys the Mathewses’ predecessors, their contemporaries, and the artists whose work they influenced. Harvey L. Jones, a senior curator at the Oakland Museum, ably reviews the Mathewses’ exuberant lives, work, and influence on the California style; the foreword is by a state librarian emeritus and professor of history at USC; and an essay by an expert on American decorative arts and crafts helps to put the Mathewses in the context of their time and place.

Published with the Oakland Museum of California; written by Harvey L. Jones. 272 pages, with approximately 250 full-color and black-and-white images. Size: 10 3/4 x 12 in. Includes bibliography, index, foreword by Kevin Starr, and essay by Kenneth R. Trapp. Smyth-sewn paperbound book, with flaps. ISBN 0-7649-3644-1.

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