. . . From Alice Klaubers student
years at the San Francisco Art Association with the first art school
in the West, her study and enthusiasm for art never abated. Her study
trips with Chase and Henri, detailed elsewhere, seem to have been
the most meaningful to her. Through correspondence, beyond the European
ventures, the mutual friendship, especially with Henri, inspired her
development as a practicing artist. William I. Homer has pointed out
in his book about Henri, the artists involvement with the theories
of color and composition developed by obscure Chicago painter, Hardesty
Gillmore Maratta, b.1864, and to a lesser degree with the teachings
of Jay Hambridge. The color and system of Margo colors Maratta promoted
were extremely popular among leading American artists during the decades
of the teens and twenties in the 20th century, and testimony on their
behalf could be found in art journals. In their exchange of correspondence,
Miss Klauber must have queried Henri about the system since she received
a complex letter dated December 11, 1911, from him that includes diagrams
and palette arrangements. The lengthy letter, nearly 20 pages, complete
with diagrams, notes and recommendations were intended for her use
but he advises her, it takes study which the average artist
or student is not willing to give. Despite the emphasis
on the Maratta color scheme, Henri felt, His work goes far
beyond color - more profoundly into form than any other in our time
has gone. The colors were important in their intrinsic values
and usage, the power of producing the effect of light through
the relationship that exists in these colors. During the
course of writing the letter to Miss Klauber, Maratta had called Henri
and told him that he too had received a letter from her. He told Henri
he would send her a box of his pigments at Henris recommendation.
The Maratta paint line had no greater testimonial than that of Henri.
George Bellows, too, added his voice in recommending their use.
. . . Never admitting to being an artist
herself, as a practicing painter, Miss Klauber exhibited frequently
over the early years. Locally her social activities seemed more newsworthy
than her achievements as an artist, if a paucity of newspaper accounts
is considered any criteria. In 1916 Miss Klauber was represented in
one-man exhibitions at Orrs Gallery, in the California Building,
Balboa Park, in the Prado Galleries, and in the studio of her friend
and fellow artist Esther Stevens Barney. During the San Diego Exposition
of 1915-1916, she maintained a portrait studio with two other young
artists, Alice Mary Clark and Ruth Townsend, in what is known today
as Spanish Village. In reviewing her show at Orrs Gallery in
1916, Beatric de Lack Kromback wrote, Her color is fresh
and flows readily and simply from her brush. The lessons
of Henri were well taken. By 1920, according to San Diego artist and
art writer Krombach, Impressionism was a matter of course
and no longer regarded as a daring feat, a mere fad or an impertinence,
and American viewers were now sympathetic with artists who visualized
their own impressions and expressed them to the best of their knowledge.
Traditional art had succumbed to self expression and recording impressions.
It is within this context that Alice Klaubers work was considered
in a review of an exhibition at Orrs Gallery in 1920. Twenty-two
works note her personal impressions; no two are alike. She seemed
to be motivated by form and light as a means to express her passions
and according to her own statement. A member of the San Diego
Art Guild from its inception in 1915, Miss Klauber intermittently
was among the jurors of Museum sponsored Guild exhibitions. During
these early years, she, also, exhibited in Los Angeles, San Francisco,
and Santa Fe, New Mexico. When the La Jolla Art Association was organized
October 5, 1920, At the home of Ellen Scripps aand with Eleanor B.
Parkes presiding, Miss Klauber was one of twelve charter members and
exhibited with the group. At times she was a jury member for their
membership showings and had been a member of its By-Laws Committee,
with Jane Bell, Maurice Braun, and Charles Fries. During 1921 Miss
Klauber sold one painting from a March showing of the group. Existing
reviews of her exhibitions are filled, generally, with the usual platitudes
in describing the shows. In the landscapes she seemed to prefer as
subject matter, she is concerned with the visual impression
without regard for illustrative or dramatic interest. The
moods of nature that characterizes each picture bearing titles such
as The Coming Rain, Sunny Afternoon and Road in Spring are executed
with vigorous brushing and sureness of touch. A 1929 Prado
Gallery exhibition displayed subjects of China, Japan and Malaysia
done during a visit to that area. In 1934, Miss Klauber returned to
Japan to study, independently, seventh and eighth century wood sculpture.
She became acquainted with Scandinavian Oriental art scholar Osvald
Siren, 1879-1966, who visited the San Diego area often on his way
to the East. He was attracted to the area by the Theosophical Society
located on Point Loma where he stayed on his recurring visits, and
where his daughter was a student at the Raga Yoga Academy. It was
not unusual while Miss Klauber would be speaking at the local Museum
on Oriental art, for Siren to drop by and give an impromptu tour.
Such visits by the scholar were always newsworthy.
Klauber, Kyoto, 1929, watercolor.
. . . In Japan in 1934, Miss Klauber
met Dr. Helen Chapin who later spoke at the Fine Arts Gallery in 1940.
Dr. Chapin had resided in China and Japan, and spoke both languages.
She had spent seven months in the temple of Yakushiji, Nara, and was
the first woman to climb the famous pagoda built in the eighth century.
Prior to her series of lectures at the local museum, she had been
an assistant in the department of Asiatic Arts, Boston Museum of Fine
Arts, for eight years. Klaubers independent study and long time
acquaintances with such preeminent international scholars made her
well qualified to accept a role as the first curator (honorary) of
Asian art at the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego. While in Japan her
activities were recorded in the local press. She attended an autumn
exhibition of contemporary painting and sculpture in Tokyo representing
the best of working artists. The exhibition was presented in two parts,
one wing dedicated to traditional styles and the other wing showing
work influence by modern European styles. The former she admired for
the craftsmanship and devotion of the artists and the latter she felt
was lacking and that there were no similarities in the newer efforts
of the artists to European styles although she did comment on the
influence of Cezanne being everywhere. She concluded with comments
regarding Eastern originality and vitality that would be admired by
European contemporaries. Most of the paintings were watercolor on
paper or woven silk, and they must have inspired her for there are
watercolors she did while on her visit in the collection of the San
Diego Museum of Art.
. . . Among the most original personalities
Miss Klauber had become acquainted with around the time of the 1915
San Diego Exposition was the potter known simply as Maria. The San
Diegan admired the unique craftsman and in her association with the
Archaeological Society may have been instrumental in attracting Maria
Martinez to the San Diego Exposition for the duration of the Fair.
Earlier, Miss Klauber had tried her hand in making black pottery when
she visited the Southwest with Natalie Curtis and Dr. Hewett. Marias
specialty is the much-admired black pottery that she and her family
developed and today is sought after by collectors around the world.
A Tewa Indian of New Mexicos San Ildefonso Pueblo, Maria Martinez
ranks with Bernard Leach, 1887-1979, and Shoji Hamada, 1894-1978,
as one of the major creative figures in the pottery craft field during
the 20th century. Dr. Hewett figured prominently in the 1915-1916
Exposition planning exhibitions. It was he who had asked Maria to
assist him in reconstructing some of the fragments of pre-historic
black pottery found in excavations near her pueblo at the time. As
a result the artist was motivated to continue her work refining black
pottery and producing new work that, some argue, surpasses the early
. . . In 1927, the Albights - Adam Emory,
1862-1958, and his sons, Ivan Lorraine, b.1897, and Malvin Marr, b.1897,
- spent the winter in San Diego, leasing a studio in the New Mexico
Building in Balboa Park. 52
Amy Jo thought Aunt Allie might have studied earlier with
Emory in San Francisco or Los Angeles. Any influence they may have
exerted is undetectable in her work. Ivan and Malvin were nephews
of local attorney Jefferson Stickney and were acquaintances of several
local artists including Alice, Everett Gee and Eileen Jackson. Everett
had met them earlier while a fellow student at the Art Institute of
Chicago and remembered the family well.
. . . In 1930, Hans Hofmann, 1880-1966,
an important exponent of modern German Expressionism, arrived in the
United States ahead of the impending conflict that was brewing in
Europe. He departed Germany when the University of Southern California
invited him to conduct classes for the Chouinard School of Art in
Los Angeles in August and September 1931, and the following year from
Mid-June to September. The faculty, in addition to Hofmann, included
other distinguished artist such as Morgan Russell, 1886-1953, co-founder
of Synchromism; Millard Sheets, b.1907; Phil Dike; b.1906; and Clarence
Hinkle, 1880-1960. Dike and Sheets became nationally known watercolor
artists of the American urban scene during the 1930s. To date, her
notes on this chapter of her studies are limited to a very few sheets
in the San Diego Museum archives.
. . . In the Caribbean in 1938, honing
her own skill in observing and sketching aboard the Danish Ship S.S.
Europa, in Kingston, Jamacia, and in St.Thomas, Virgin Islands,
Miss Klauber attempted to capture the spirit and color of the area
and is inhabitants. Quick sketches capture the women walking with
huge bundles balanced on their head, donkeys pulling carts at a leisurely,
almost listless pace, and views of the city, built on three
hills, the waters filled with small boats. Color notes accompany
many of the small landscapes, perhaps a reference for future paintings.
(See Appendix C3.)
At the age of 73, in 1944, Miss Klauber was still attending classes.
This time it was a session co-sponsored by the Fine Arts Gallery of
San Diego and San Diego State College (University) and conducted by
the muralist, Alfredo Ramos Martinez, 1873-1946. Ramos had arrived
in southern California in 1929 remaining until his death thirty years
later. There were frequent trips to his home country, but they were
of short duration. The course focused on fresco painting. Ramos Martinez
was an early advocate of outdoor schools in Mexico. He urged the young
to get outside, away from the stultifying effects of the classroom
and copying plaster models. His ideas were novel and contributed to
the introduction of modern Mexican art. Influential as the Director
General of Fine Arts in Mexico City, he was among the first to encourage
a modern attitude in Mexican art free of political overtones. Perhaps
this is his principal contribution to Mexican art history and many
well known artists acknowledge a debt to him. Klaubers notes
regarding his demonstrations are in the archives of the San Diego
Museum of Art. In summary of the technical procedure she writes that
similar principals permeated all his media of visual expression. His
result was strikingly like his newspaper drawings, his pastels or
his oils - same technique, a steady very emotional, but always painstaking
design, and wryly concludes, executed leedle
be leedle. In southern California the artist made
frequent visits to the medical center at the University of California,
Los Angeles, because of his daughters fragile health. He stayed
at the Clark home, while in the area, in Coronado. Martinez was to
become a familiar face and talent in the southern California art community.
He was featured in exhibitions at the San Diego Museum and taught
adult classes there with his friend and colleague at San Diego State
University, Everett Gee Jackson. A known portrait and landscape painter,
Ramos Martinez was, also, recognized for his large murals in the area
including Coronado and La Jolla. His mural on the pediment above the
entrance of the exterior of the Church of St. Mary, Stella Maris in
La Jolla, done about 1927, was later enforced with tessarae to better
preserve it. Murals that enhanced the dining pleasure of patrons at
La Avanida Restaurant, in Coronado, survived a serious fire but have
since been removed and, after conservation, were reinstalled in the
Coronado library. The artists easel paintings were distributed
through the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries in Los Angeles.
. . . Miss Klaubers place in the
overall picture of San Diego early artists is among that adventurous
generation that responded to the Armory Show of 1913 and clustered
about Robert Henri in an attempt to revitalize American art. She is
among San Diegos first modern painters whose art reflects the
impulses of post-impressionism and plein air landscape painting.
photographer, On the reverse of the photograph, Alice teaching
a class of Mission children,
date unknown as is the site, courtesy of the Klauber family.