Lockwood de Forest II was born in New York in 1850, the son of Henry G. and Julia Weeks de Forest. He began to paint and draw at an early age. At the age of nineteen de Forest had already begun formal training as an artist in Rome at the Corridi school, and had adopted his relative Frederick Church, the famous Hudson River School painter, as his mentor. Although he demonstrated multiple skills in his career, he painted passionately throughout his life.
During his lifetime de Forest was best known as a designer. He was a strong proponent of Indian-inspired design, for which there was a fashion in the late nineteenth century. His travels fueled his interest in eastern art and architecture, and he used his knowledge to further develop his design business. He traveled extensively, from Italy and Greece to the Holy Land and south into the Persian Empire and India; eventually he traveled throughout the United States, Mexico and even to China, Japan and Korea. He recorded his travels not only with design work, but with carefully rendered landscapes, which became increasingly atmospheric over the course of his career.
Captivated by the light and landscape of the South Coast, de Forest began wintering in Santa Barbara around the turn of the century, and moved to Santa Barbara permanently in 1919, where he lived until his death in 1932.
3:06 | Narrated by Nathan Vonk | Released for LOCKWOOD DE FOREST: Wanderlust, 2016
4:08 | Narrated by Susan Bush | Released for De Forest's SANTA BARBARA, 2014
3:15 | Narrated by Nathan Vonk | Released for In Search of the Source, 2012
4:28 | Narrated by Frank Goss | Released for 40 Days & 40 Nights: The Paintings of Lockwood de Forest, 2011
5:30 | Narrated by Frank Gos
4:44 | Jeremy Tessmer | Released for Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932)
5:45 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for SYSTEM DISRUPTION, 2018
6:05 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for The Art of Santa Barbara: 1875-2016, 2016
4:57 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for TONALISM THEN: 1870-1930, 2013
2:45 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for Collecting California, 2013
4:20 | Narrated by Frank Goss | Released for ALONG EL CAMINO REAL: Edwin Deakin's Twenty-One Missions in Watercolor, 2013
3:42 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for THE LAST NEW CENTURY: American Art from 1880-1920, 2010
With the country battered by the pandemic, a hotly contested election, the nation’s capitol invaded by rioters and an atmosphere marked by dread and hysteria, curators at Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery in downtown Santa Barbara felt this community could use a space for peace and contemplation.
Drawing from its artists’ studios, collector consignments and its own treasure vault, the gallery staff has assembled 16 works spanning from 1890 to today that invite a meditative or peaceful state of mind.
The exhibition is open for socially distant viewing through March 1. Gallery visits are limited to eight mask-wearing guests at a time. The exhibit is also available online.
“I always hear people say that in the design for any chair or garment, the inside is just as good as the outside. The idea is to make the experience as immersive, engaging and fresh as possible,” says Divya Thakur of her intentions with her latest curatorial feat—expanding the Museum of Design Excellence (MoDE) to a digital and consequently, global landscape—made possible due to a partnership between the Museum and Google. “Brick-and-mortar museums usually think to convert physical aspects into digital. We are creating exhibits only for the digital platform…something that is tailor-made for the virtual world.”
It was remarkable then — and even more amazing now looking back — that so many important artists came to the desert in the early days.
These artists, whose paintings now garner unimaginably handsome sums at auction, worked “en plein air,” away from their studios, capturing the subtle and ever-changing colors of this unique landscape.
The early 20th century was a time of innocence and exploration in California’s desert wilds. Some painters were driven to escape the ravages of tuberculosis, and others, like Lockwood de Forest, who made 10 documented visits in the very beginning of the 20th century, were drawn by the extraordinary views made glorious by an indescribable yellow light.
With downtown Los Angeles seemingly sprouting a new art museum or gallery district every few months, it can be hard to remember that well before L.A. became a hotbed of art making and collecting, Santa Barbara was known as the most artistic city in the state south of San Francisco. With this new exhibit, Sullivan Goss aims to right that skewed impression and teach us to hold our heads up with pride in Santa Barbara’s profound influence on the art of our time.
California may continue to develop and change, but one thing stays the same: its landscape remains the muse of the masses.
Sullivan Goss—An American Gallery invites you to ruminate on Collecting California, an exhibition covering an array of paintings from the late 1800s through today. The pieces capture the idyllic and diverse beauty of the land, from rugged seascapes and plunging waterfalls to undulating ranch land and serene sunrises—infusing the imagination with a sense of possibility and optimism for the future.
A well-dressed painter on horseback ambled out across the Palm Springs sand in 1904. He set up his easel near the train station under a quarter moon and fixed his gaze on an anonymous stretch of scrub. With a palette of only a few colors, he laid on rough stripes of sky and sand.
Lockwood de Forest, a Victorian furniture designer, produced entire paneled rooms out of imported Indian teak for elite clients like Andrew Carnegie and the painter Frederic Edwin Church. His esoteric wares had a brief heyday around 1890, and then he developed a new obsession: painting the moon reflected on bodies of water.
ABOVE: Paintings by Lockwood de Forest hang above a buffet by Jean de Merry; the dining chairs are by Madeline Stuart, the silk-and-wool rug is by Beauvais, and the limestone floor tiles are by Walker Zanger. ABOVE RIGHT: The kitchen is designed for serious entertaining with Mark Alberct leather counter stools and a Wolf range.
This large show of small works by Lockwood de Forest rewrites the history of art in Santa Barbara and makes a case for de Forest as at once an adventurous early plein air landscape painter, particularly of nocturnes, and an intuitive proto-Modernist hovering at the edges of abstraction. De Forest’s medium is oil, his surface board, and these horizontally oriented paintings are all approximately 9x14 inches. But within the grid-like similarity of the series, variations of scene, mood, and lighting vie with certain compositional consistencies to produce an intense and lingering overall effect.
What if money were no object? Would you dedicate yourself to amusement or listen to your inner voice? Lockwood de Forest listened, and painted. His muse led him around the world and then to Santa Barbara in the early 1900s.
AWARDS & AFFILIATIONS
1886 Medal for Indian Carvings Colonial Exposition, London
1893 Medal Columbian Exposition, Chicago
1898 Election to the National Academy of Design
1904 Bronze medal, St. Louis Exposition
Alaska State Museum, Juneau, AK
Art Institute of Chicago (Server, 1880/90, Middle East Costumes, Egypt, 1878, Orange Sky with Scattered Clouds, Greece, 1878, Greek Mountain Peak at Twilight, 1878, Four Palms on Verdant Field Near Nile, 1876, Athens, Single Standing Column Surrounded by Broken Column Elements, 1878, Full Moon Over Luxor Ruins, Off the Nile, 1876, Corinth 1878)
Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
Baltimore Museum of Art
Brooklyn Museum (Armchair, 1895)
Brynn Mawr College
Century Association, New York, NY
Cleveland Museum, Cleveland, OH
Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York, NY
Crocker Museum, Sacramento, CA
Field Museum and Art Institute
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, IN
Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY
The Huntington, Los Angeles, CA
India Museum, South Kensington, London, England
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
Lahore Museum, Lahore, India
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Mark Twain Memorial, Hartford, CT
Metropolitan Museum of Art (Screen, 1981-90, Stool, 1881, Chair, 1882-85, Chair, 1881-86, Cutout, 1892, Cutout, 1892, Cutout, 1892, Cutout, 1892, Cutout, 1892, Cutout, 1892, Cutout, 1892, Beach Scene, 1877, "Tehuacan" Mexican landscape, 1904, Atmopsheric Landscape at Sunset, 1904, Étagère, 1885)
Morse Museum of American Art
Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA (Cypress Point, 1920-21, Santa Barbara Inlet, n.d., Santa Barbara Inlet, 1904, "East Coast" View, 1908, Monterey, Mexico (sic), 1904, Untitled (Vertical Rainbow), 1876, Chula, India, 1893, Palm Springs, Three Palms, 1903, Egypt, 1876, Point Lobos, 1922, Cliffs, 1909)
Merchant Ivory Foundation, Claverack, NY
National Academy of Design, New York, NY
New York Historical Society, New York, NY (Sunset, New York, 1900)
New York University's Bonfman Center, NY
Olana State Historic Museum, Hudson, NY (All the Raj: Frederic Church and Lockwood de Forest)
Palm Springs Museum of Art
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA (Autumn Foliage, 1918, California Costal Range, 1923, Carmel, 1909, Hemhstead Plains, Long Island, 1901, Indio, 1911, Monterey, 1910, Indio, 1918, Nepal, 1911, Palm Springs, 1918, Palm Springs, 1912, Palm Springs, 1905, Santa Barbara, 1911, Santa Barbara, 1905, Santa Barbara, 1917, Study for the Taj Mahal, 1893, Study for the Taj Mahal, 1893, Study for the Taj Mahal, 1893, Study for the Taj Mahal, 1893, Study fo the Taj Mahal, 1893, Taj Mahal, 1895, Trees in Mountain Landscape, 1909)
Santa Barbara Historical Museum (Luminescent Santa Barbara)
Santa Cruz Island Foundation, Santa Barbara, CA
Sullivan Goss - Private Collection
Smithsonian, Washington, DC (Passion for the Exotic: Louis Comfort Tiffany and Lockwood de Forest, Passion for the Exotic: Lockwood de Forest, Frederic Church)
University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Wilding Art Museum, Los Olivos, CA
Wolfsonian Museum, Miami, FL
1850 Born New York, NY
1864 First trip abroad
1868 Family winters in Rome
1870s Studies briefly with James Hart
1870s Sketching trips to the Adirondacks, Rhode Island, MA
1872–1883 Studio in New York's Tenth Street Studio Building
1875 First academy exhibition entry, a Grecian landscape
1875 Travels with family to London, Egypt, Palestine
1877 National Academy of Design submission Pyramid of Saqqara
1877 Travels to Greece and Egypt
1879 Partners with Louis Tiffany, Samuel Colman, & Candace Wheeler in Associated Artists
1880–1882 Honeymoons with Meta Kemble in India
1880 Sets up furniture & decorations factory in Ahmadebad to create his designs
1882 Associated Artists dissolved
1885 Publishes Indian Domestic Architecture
1886 Builds home to his design on East 10th St., NY
1892 Visits India, including Ahmadebad factory again to supervise
1893 Medal for commissioned room Marshall Field at World Expo
1898 Election to the National Academy of Design
1898 Visits Europe
1900 Starts wintering in Santa Barbara, CA
1908 Sells his decorating stock in New York
1912 Publishes Illustrations of Design
1913 Last trip to India
1915 Builds home in Santa Barbara, CA
1919 Begins to reside yearround in Santa Barbara, CA
1932 Died April 3, at the age of 82, in Santa Barbara, CA
1. Ackerman, Gerald M. American Orientalists. Paris: ACR Edition, 1994.
2. Alaska State Museum. Lockwood de Forest : Alaska Oil Sketches.
3. de Forest, Lockwood. Illustrations of Design, Based on Notes of Line as Used by the Craftsmen of India. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1912.
4. Goldyne, Joseph. Lockwood de Forest: Plein-air Oil Sketches. New York: Richard York Gallery, 2001.
5. Hughes, Eden Milton. Artists in California 1786-1940. Third edition. Sacramento, Calif.: 2002.
De Forest is also listed in:
American Art Annual (1919-1932, obituary)
Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy)
Artists of the American West (Samuels)
Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure)
Who's Who in America (1918)
Who's Who in California (1929)
2014 Lockwood de Forest, Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York, NY
2014 All The Raj-Frederic Church & Lockwood de Forest: Painting, Decorating & Collecting at Olana, Olana, New York St. Park, NY
2014 De Forest's Santa Barbara, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2013 Luminescent Santa Barbara: Lockwood de ForestSanta Barbara Historical Museum, Santa Barbara, CA
2013 Along the Nile, St. Mary's College Museum of Art, Morago, CA
2012 Lockwood de Forest in Monterey, Art in the Adobes, Monterey, CA
2012 Lockwood de Forest; 40 Nights, Museum of Monterey, Monterey, CA
2012 Lockwood de Forest's Egypt, Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park, FL
2012 Lockwood de Forest: Observer of Nature, Gavin Spanierman, Ltd., New York, NY
2012 In Search of the Source: Paintings of the Nile and Beyond, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2012 Night and Day: The Paintings of Lockwood de Forest, Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA
2011 40 Days & 40 Nights, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2010 The Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, CT
2010 Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932), Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2009 Glories of the Hudson: Frederic Edwin Church's Views from Olana, Olana, Hudson, NY
2008 Casa del Herrero, Montecito, CA
2008 Lockwood de Forest: Poet of Place, Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC
2008 Views to Vista: Impressions of Lockwood de Forest, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, Santa Barbara, CA
2007 Lockwood de Forest: At First Blush, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2005 Lockwood de Forest, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2003 In Quietude, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2001 Plein-Air Oil Sketches, Richard York Gallery, New York, NY
2000 An Introduction, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2000 Nocturnes, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
1989 Montgomery Gallery in San Francisco
1998 The Painted Sketch, Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1988 Lockwood de Forest: Alaskan Oil Sketches, Alaska Museum of Art, Juneau, AK
1976 Lockwood de Forest: Painter, Importer, Decorator, Heckscher Museum, Huntington, NY
1960, 2001 (solo) Santa Barbara Museum of Art
1933 Faulkner Memorial Art Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1928 Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena, CA
1925 Commemorative Exhibition by Members of the National Academy of Design, 1825-1925
1923 Little Gallery, San Diego, CA
1922 Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles (solo)
1920 Art Department, California State Fair, Sacramento
1918 American Art Association
1913 John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, IN
1913 Art Association of Indianapolis, IN (solo)
1913 St. Louis City Museum, St. Louis, MO (solo)
1913 Santa Barbara Museum of Art (solo)
1911 The Central School of Art & Design, London (solo)
1909 - 1910 Del Monte Art Gallery, Monterey, CA
1908 New York Camera Club
1908 Saint Paul Guild, Saint Paul, MN (solo)
1906, 1908 Corcoran Gallery
1906 Society of Illustrators in Philadelphia
1905 Steckel Gallery, Los Angeles (solo)
1905 Saint Boltoph Club, Boston (solo)
1905 Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
1905 - 1909 (solo), 1907 - 1908, 1910 The Century Association (aka The Century Club)
1904 Louisiana Purchase Expo (award) , St. Louis, MO
1901 Pan American Exposition, Buffalo, NY (award)
1894 Boston Art Club, Boston,MA
1893 World's Columbian Expo (award), Chicago, IL
1889, 1894 - 1895 (Annual Exhibition) Art Institute of Chicago
1887 Artists Fund, New York, NY
1886 Colonial Expo (medal), London
1885, 1892 (solo) Avery's Art Galleries, New York, NY
1884 Hillyer Art Gallery at Smith College< Northhampton, MA
1884-1893 (Annual Exhibition) Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
1883 International Art Exhibition, Munich
1881 Lahore Exhibition, Pakistan
1880 Union League Club
1878 Paris Universal Exhibition
1876 4th Park Gallery, Burlington, VT
1876 Young Women's Christian Association
1875, 1877, 1880, 1885 Louisville Industrial Exposition
1875 Cincinnati Industrial Exposition
1875 Chicago Interstate Industrial Exposition
1873, 1875 - 1877, 1879 Brooklyn Art Association
1873, 1875, 1878 - 1880, 1884, 1891 - 1892,1894 - 1895, 1899, 1900, 1904 (three solo exhibits),
1872 - 1875, 1877, 1879, 1880, 1883 - 1911, 1916, 1919, 1924 - 1927, 1930 National Academy of Design