The Story of Santa Barbara - Arts Movement

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Considered one of California's finest landscape painters, Carl Oscar Borg (1879-1947) was renowned for his evocative landscapes of the American West, particularly his monumental canvases of the deserts and mountains of New Mexico, Arizona, and their Native American inhabitants.

Borg first arrived in Santa Barbara in 1918, and resided here periodically for the rest of his life. He taught at the Santa Barbara School of the Arts, and included among his friends nationally acclaimed cowboy artist John Edward Borein, and landscapist Fernand Lungren. In 1909, Borg's work caught the eye of Phoebe Appleton Hearst, mother of William Randolph Hearst, who became his patroness.

Canyon de Chelly at Night
Carl Oscar Borg (Swedish, 1879-1947)
Oil on canvas
25 x 30 inches
Museum Acquisition Fund
Through the generosity of Jo Beth Van Gelderen

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Santa Barbara artist, Elizabeth Mason, taught Works Projects Administration art and crafts classes during the Great Depression. A noted historian, she was known for her detailed scale models and dioramas of Indian culture. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and Chicago's Field Museum are a few of the institutions who exhibit her commissioned works.

Figure of Father Junípero Serra, c. 1935
Elizabeth Mason (American, 1880-1953)
Patinated molded plaster of Paris
Gift of Virginia S. Holbrook

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Santa Barbara's position as an important art center was solidified with the founding of the Santa Barbara School of the Arts in 1920. For seventeen years, this school boasted a faculty of tremendous talent and creativity, and graduated many students who went on to successful artistic careers. Originally offering a curriculum that included music, drama, photography and more, by the late 1920s the school had focused on providing students the best available instruction in the fine arts.

One faculty member who took a leadership role was John Marshall Gamble (1863-1957), who joined on in 1929 to teach advanced landscape painting and sketching. Gamble served as School Board President for a number of years, and was considered the "dean of Santa Barbara artists," as he personified the spirit of the Santa Barbara School in his dedication to the artistic aspirations of his students.

To Gingie, 1924
[Portrait of Melita Robinson Tallant]
John Marshall Gamble (American, 1863-1957)
Oil on canvas
30 x 24 inches
Gift of Cecil and Genevieve Smith and
Idablle (Mrs. George P.) Tallant, Jr.

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