. . . Prominent Eastern portrait painter
and member of The Ten, J. Carroll Beckwith, 1852-1917, bemoaned the
somber gray 44
of the buildings. For him the Exposition should be joyous
and buoyant, filled with color. In his opinion, it was no
fete but a failure. When art collector Charles Freer, passed through
on his way to San Francisco to supervise the installation of his remarkable
collection lent to their Exposition, he must have been unimpressed
since there are no known references to any reaction. The progressive
works were often overlooked by critics who focused on the rarities
of the Indian arts.
Their backs to the viewer, Native Americans, including potter Julian
the only male shown, as spectators of the San Diego Exposition in
1915. They are standing on a bridge over the lily pond, Lagoon
of Flowers., courtesy of the Klauber family.
. . . Dr. Hewett, through his association
and work in the Southwest had instructed that a pueblo be constructed
on the north east end of the fair grounds, on todays zoo parking
lot, for the duration of the Exposition. Here about six families representing
the Acoma, Hopi, Navajo, Taos and Tewa cultures lived in the pueblo
on The Painted Desert area of the Fair grounds for the duration of
the Exposition. The potters, Maria and Julian Martinez and their extended
family, noted for their black pottery ware were among residents.
Julian, husband of Maria Martinez and a noted potter, 1915, courtesy
of the Klauber family.
photographer, Maria, far left, and her extended family in San Diego,
courtesy of the Klauber family.
. . Dr. Hewett had engaged their services in discovering the
secret of ancient black pottery at his digs in the American Southwest.
They continued their discoveries and refined the desirable crafts
sought by collectors today. Maria recalled the experience with fondness
even though it was not pleasurable for the pueblo residents according
to locals who remember. Maria was delighted to meet the legendary
Geronimo at the Exposition and was fascinated by the old mans
scarred body. Before the Exposition ended they were nearly forgotten
by the community. In addition to the paucity of newspaper reviews
of the show, it seems many local artists were unaware of Henris
presence by those who experienced the Fair. In conversation with Amy
Jo Wormser, Miss Klaubers niece, she recalled that some of the
better local artists such as Maurice Braun and Charles Reiffel were
impressed by his presence. Only their free and expressionistic brushwork,
however, seems to support their admiration of Henris work. Few
local artists left written statements about his visit or of the American
painting exhibition. For the community, however, the Exposition was
an apparent economic success and it was extended another six months.
. . The international scope of the contemporaneous San Francisco
Exposition posed a challenge for San Diegos endeavor in general
and to the art exhibition specifically. The world spotlight focused
on the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, relegated San Diegos
Fair to a lesser significance in the mind of the public. Henri, also
involved in a similar exhibition in San Francisco, notified Hewett
that even artists who were invited to participate seemed vague as
to where they were exhibiting and linking what they hear to San Francisco
giving them credit for the whole. He did not want this latter show
presently in his hands to infringe what San Diego had
already done. Dismissing the uncertainty, Bellows wisely noted that
it allowed an opportunity to show on the other edge for
the first time.
. . . During the run of the exhibition
and despite its paucity of reviews, it attracted the interest and
enthusiasm of the Maxwell Galleries of Los Angeles that arranged a
tour of the western states after it ended in San Diego, December 1915.
Henris last concerns, according to his correspondence with Miss
Klauber, were with the return of the paintings to their owners. The
San Diego Exposition exhibition of American art was replaced during
1916 by a show of less exciting proportions, the Luxembourg Art Collection
consisting of sixty paintings done between 1870 and 1910. The exhibition
was primarily of war pictures of the strife between France and Germany.
Evidence of viewers reaction to this exhibition is, also, scarce.
. . . The Exposition had given the community
an economic boost and a sense of cultural acheivment. Its architectural
style was to shape the taste and face of San Diego for the next half