An innovative new display brings together the best in plein air painting from yesterday and today, from Guy Rose to John Cosby.
Shortly after announcing that it will now collect contemporary paintings, The Irvine Museum in Irvine, California, has opened the doors to a groundbreaking exhibition of historic and contemporary artists displayed together. “Then and Now: 100 Years of Plein Air Painting” offers a glimpse at fine American landscape paintings over the last century.

Museum President James Irvine Swinden with exhibiting artists Jesse Powell and Michael Obermeyer. Photo: Vanessa Rothe
“Then and Now” celebrates the tradition of American landscape painting and also honors California as a pivotal site of inspiration for the art form. The exhibition includes works by contemporary paintersPeter Adams, Ken Auster, Jacobus Baas, Kenn Backhaus, John Budicin, John Cosby, Dennis Doheny, Dan Goozee, Robin Hall, Anita Hampton, Jeff Horn, Gregory Hull, Richard Humphrey, Debra Huse, William Scott Jennings, Kim Lordier, Kevin Macpherson, Charles Muench, Michael Obermeyer, Alexander Orlov, Jesse Powell, Scott Prior, Camille Przewodek, Jeff Sewell, Kevin Short, Mian Situ, Michael Situ, Alexey Steele, and Liz Tolley.

Irvine Museum director and exhibition curator Jean Stern addresses a large crowd at the opening for “Then and Now.” Photo: Vanessa Rothe

Exhibiting artist Mian Situ stands with Jean Stern in front of his painting. Photo: Vanessa Rothe

Paintings by these established contemporary artists commingle with pieces from the Irvine Museum’s historical collection, including works by Guy Rose, E. Charlton Fortune, Paul Grimm, John Frost, Arthur Rider, Edgar Payne, and William Wendt. Museum director and exhibition curator Jean Stern has instituted a thoughtful design that pairs contemporary works with historical versions of the same theme.

Paul Grimm, “Approaching Storm,” oil on canvas. Private Collection, Courtesy of the Irvine Museum
Fine Art Connoisseur West Coast editor Vanessa Rothe reported from the exhibition opening, saying that it was very well attended and welcomed many artists, collectors, and distinguished figures in the art world.
“Then and Now” will continue through October 2. To learn more, visit the Irvine Museum website.


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