American Art Colonies, 1850-1930: A Historical Guide to America's Original Art Colonies and Their Artists

By Steve Shipp | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Carmel-Monterey Art Colony

Artists always have been charmed by the Monterey Peninsula.

Betty Hoag McGlynn If you glance back as you reach the top of the hill on your first trip from Monterey to Carmel, you will exclaim in delight at the panorama spread out below.

Daisy Bostick and Dorothea Castelhun

Carmel and Monterey, California, closely aligned in artistic spirit, have attracted dozens of artists and authors over the years. The earliest arrivals to Carmel traveled there in a "four-horse stage . . . over the stumps, ruts, dust and mud which constituted the four miles of mountain road from Monterey." 1 Many of these adventurous artists were soon "caught and held by golden sunsets, enchanted woods, gnarled cypresses, rainbow-hued water--and sent for their typewriters and their easels. Then, with due regard for the prior rights of dignified pines and chummy oaks, they squeezed a little shack in among tree trunks-- and began to live in tranquil contentment." 2

The rugged beauty of Carmel was "discovered" in the late 1800s during a U.S. government survey of the Monterey Peninsula when the surveyor broke through a forest and came across a beautiful white beach. His report included "an enthusiastic description, which was later published in Scribner's magazine." 3 When the area around Cannel was offered to the public some years later, the surveyor, Dr. David Starr Jordan, "was among the first to buy and build." 4

The Monterey Peninsula, including Cannel, Monterey, and Pacific Grove, had become a popular destination for artists, writers, and other creative personalities by the turn of the century. The area had much to offer with its ocean vistas, rugged forests, hills, and other natural scenery, all good subject matter for

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