Free Lecture by Jean Stern - "The Historical Development of California Scene Painting" -- Thursday, August 9 at 7 p.m.

[Spring Exhibitions 2018]

The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University is pleased to welcome guest speaker Jean Stern, noted author, art historian and executive director of the Irvine Museum Collection at UC Irvine, who will present a free lecture on "The Historical Development of California Scene Painting" on Thursday, August 9 at 7 p.m. 

The lecture will cover the historical development of genre -- which basically means "everyday life" -- as a subject of art.  While genre was prevalent in the art of ancient times, and can be seen in Egyptian tomb paintings, Roman mosaics, etc., it was superceded by religious iconography for about a thousand years, from the Dark Ages through the Renaissance. It reappeared again in Northern Europe in the 1600s with the painters of the Dutch Golden Age, and spread throughout Europe and to the United States, particularly in the past 200 years.  The lecture spotlights the California Scene painting movement of the 20th century and how it fits into this history, and how the Hilbert Museum is taking a leading role in defining and bringing this style to the wider attention of the public and the art world.

Jean Stern is the author of Windows in Time: California Scene Paintings from the Hilbert Collection, as well as more than 25 other books, including Franz A. Bischoff: The Life and Art of an American Master, Enchanted Isle: A History of Painting on Santa Catalina Island, Art of the National Parks (with Susan Hallsten McGarry and Terry Lawson Dunn), California Light: 100 Years of the California Art Club (with Molly Siple), Painting California (with Molly Siple) and all three books in the Plein Air Painters of California series. As executive director of the Irvine Museum (now the Irvine Museum Collection at the University of California, Irvine) for more than 25 years, Mr. Stern is a recognized authority on California Impressionism. In his career, he has presented more than 250 lectures and judged and juried nearly 100 art competitions.  In 2017, Mr. Stern received the prestigious Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Ministry of Culture.  He has also been presented with three Lifetime Achievement Awards: by the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association in 2013; by the Plein Air Painters of America in 2014; and by Plein Air Magazine at the Third Annual Plein Air Convention in Monterey, CA, in 2014.

Following the lecture, there will be an audience Q&A, and Mr. Stern will be happy to sign copies of Windows in Time: California Scene Paintings from the Hilbert Collection. The books will be available for purchase. If you have your own copy, you may bring it for the signing.


The Hilbert Museum is located at 167 N. Atchison Street in Orange, Calif.  The Museum's regular hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is free, and there is limited free parking in front of the museum (with permit obtained inside).  Additional parking is available to the public on the top floor of the Chapman structure at 230 N. Cypress Street, about one block north of the museum. 

More information: 714-516-5880 or

The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University, which opened in 2016, was established thanks to the generosity of Mark and Janet Hilbert, whose superlative collection focuses on the “California Scene” painting movement of roughly the 1920s through the 1970s and beyond. The Hilbert Collection – which includes oils, watercolors and drawings of rural and urban scenes, coastal views, farms, ranches, freeways and landscapes of everyday life in the Golden State – is a significant repository of 20th-century representational art by California artists.  The Collection also includes animation and movie art (many California fine artists were drawn to the state by work in the movie industry, including as animators, background painters, set and backdrop designers and poster artists) and works by noted American illustrators.    

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