History

Lora Woodhead Steere (1888-1984)

Curious to know what part the Painters’ Club of Los Angeles had in creating the CAC, or who held the office of CAC President the most? What famous persons have been members over the years? Click the links below to find out more about the colorful and fascinating history of the California Art Club, founded 1909.

This historical section has been researched and compiled by Eric Merrell.


The Painters’ Club of Los Angeles

Includes the full membership roster for the Painters’ Club of Los Angeles (1906-1909) as well as notes from their handwritten minutes and exhibitions; explains how and why the PCLA re-formed as the CAC.

Rebirth and Early Years

The founding of the California Art Club (1909); includes chronological notes about early meetings, exhibitions and when individual members first became involved.

Presidents of the CAC

Comprehensive listings including photos, samples of their work, bios, memberships and more.

The CAC Bulletins (1925-1994)

A listing of all of the bulletins that the CAC produced from 1925-1994, including details from each issue.

Chronology of the CAC

100+ years of the California Art Club, founded 1909.

Early Los Angeles

An on-going project that explores early Los Angeles art clubs, museums, local art galleries, art schools and more.

The Annual Plein Air Painting Events at Mission San Juan Capistrano (1995-2003)

A total of nine week-long paint-outs and exhibitions were held by the CAC in conjunction with the mission. Details include participating artists, jurors, and award winners.

Historic Membership Roster

An on-going project to document all of the club’s past members since its inception in 1909.

Honorary Life Members

“The highest honor the Club can bestow on any member,” this list includes author Tom Wolfe, statesman Sir Winston Churchill, philanthropist Aline Barnsdall and numerous others.

The Annual Gold Medal Exhibitions

Begun in 1911, over half of our Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibitions are listed completely, including exhibiting artists, artworks, as well as awards given; more recent years include images of the works.

The Gold Medals

The history of the CAC medals and the artists who created them.

Special Awards

Given to major supporters of the Club each year; includes the CAC Centennial Award, Man/Woman of the Year, and The Wendt Awards.

Past CAC Exhibitions

Includes all other exhibitions held at different venues – from the Weisman Museum at Pepperdine in recent years, to the Hollyhock House Opening in 1927, and further back to the Spring Exhibitions held within the first decade of the club’s existence.

The Annual Sights and Sounds of Santa Ana Exhibitions (1997-2003)

Seven consecutive exhibitions were held at the Bowers Museum. Initially focusing on Santa Ana, they later broadened to include all of Southern California. Details include participating artists, jurors, and award winners.


Articles Covering CAC History (By Author’s Last Name)

A Brief History of the CAC
by Elaine Adams, CAC Executive Director

Memoirs of the California Art Club 1993-2006 [PDF]
by Peter Adams, CAC President
From the 95th Annual Exhibition catalogue

Merrell Gage: Southern California’s Iconic 20th Century Sculptor [PDF]
by Steve Fjeldsted
From The Quarterly Magazine Fall 2013

The California Art Club: A History (1909-1995)
by Susan Landauer, Ph.D.
From American Art Review, March 1996

Three Creators of Artists’ Alley
by David T. Leary, Ph.D.
Adapted for the Summer 2007 CAC Newsletter

Remembering Daphne Huntington
by Eric Merrell, CAC Historian
From the Fall 2012 CAC Newsletter

Unearthing CAC History at the Smithsonian Institution
by Eric Merrell, CAC Historian
From the Spring 2012 CAC Newsletter

Siquieros in Los Angeles and His Collaborations with the California Art Club
by Eric Merrell, CAC Historian
From the Spring 2010 CAC Newsletter

Artistwocky Redux
by Eric Merrell, CAC Historian
From the Spring 2010 CAC Newsletter

California Art Club in Search of a Home: The Hollyhock Years, 1927-1942
by Eric Merrell, CAC Historian
From the Winter 2010 CAC Newsletter

The First Black American Art Exhibit in Los Angeles, 1929
by Eric Merrell, CAC Historian
From the Summer 2009 CAC Newsletter

The Birth of the California Art Club: Its Founding and First Annual Exhibition
by Eric Merrell, CAC Historian
From the Spring 2009 CAC Newsletter

Bischoff’s Bright Idea
by Eric Merrell, CAC Historian
From the Winter 2009 CAC Newsletter

World Leaders Honor the California Art Club
by Eric Merrell, CAC Historian
From the Fall 2008 CAC Newsletter

The California Art Club’s New Home [PDF]
by William Francis Vreeland
From The American Magazine of Art, June 1927

A New Art Centre for the Pacific Coast [PDF]
by William Francis Vreeland, CAC Director of Public Relations (1933)
From Arts and Decoration, November 1927

Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc. (TFAOI)
Contains details about CAC exhibitions, essays on the club and more.

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