This extremely lively beach scene is the work of Donald Spencer and repays careful study as a subtly humorous take on the manners and mores of the fabled Southern California seaside arts colony. Delicately coded, tolerant, amused, satiric and bursting with vitality, executed with supreme ease and self confidence, it recalls the best of Reginald Marsh in the Thirties, transposed into a Sixties Southern Cali key.
Framed 32″ x 28″.
Donald H Spencer was born in 1936 in Los Angeles. At seventeen he won the LA Examiner cartoon competition for 1953 and went on to study with Carl Hubenthal, the Examiner’s sports illustrator. He was awarded a Saturday Scholarship at the Chouinard Art Institute which permitted him to take figure drawing classes while attending Redondo High. Upon graduation he was offered three art scholarships, to Chouinard, Pepperdine and Otis Art Institute. He chose the latter, which brought him into contact with the great Millard Sheets, studying there for four years and then enrolling at El Camino College for a year for academic subjects and subsequently going on to UCLA, graduating from there with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and the following year from Otis, receiving his MFA, thereafter combining the careers of commercial arist, designer and fine artist with immediate and ongoing success. . (Three firsts at the South Bay Art Association Fifth Annual Exhibition is fairly typical of his career from the outset.) After a youthful period of adventurous world travel, he married and settled down in Manhattan Beach to raise a family there, where he still lives.
By 1900 Laguna Beach was occupied by five families of homesteaders struggling to farm land. They soon found an additional source of income by renting sections of the beaches to farmers from Tustin, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Riverside, and other inland communities who were eager to escape the summer heat. Thus began the tourist industry which is still a mainstay of the local economy.
In the early 1920s the area was discovered by a group of landscape painters who laid the foundation of the art community which is still thriving to this day. Subsequently, various groups have “discovered” Laguna Beach and added incrementally to the town’s diversity. Many wealthy and progressive people have made Laguna Beach their home and added to the local culture. Gerry Max, in recording the life of one of the community’s most famous early members, travel writer Richard Halliburton (1900–1939), has called Laguna a “weary rover’s dream”, and in Horizon Chasers offers a sense of Laguna Beach in the 1920s and 1930s. Hildegarde Hawthorne, granddaughter of the novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, described Laguna “as a child of that deathless search, particularly by persons who devote their lives to painting or writing, or for some place where beauty and cheapness and a trifle of remoteness hobnob together in a delightful companionship.” Halliburton himself marveled at the “sensational vistas” and “the peaceful valley on the one side (of the home called Hangover House which he had built on the ridge) and the full sweep of the ocean on the other.”
Price on request.