Millard Sheets: The Scripps Years, 1932-1955

Millard Sheets: The Scripps Years is on view at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College from September 1 to October 14, 2007. The opening reception, September 9 from 3 to 5 p.m., is free and open to the public.

The exhibition features paintings and works on paper by artist Millard Sheets (1907-1989), who emerged as a leader of the “California Style” of watercolor painting in the 1930s and in the next two decades expanded his artistic processes to oil, acrylic, and mosaic design.

Gallery director Mary MacNaughton ’70 and collection manager Kirk Delman co-curated the exhibition, in collaboration with art historian Janet Blake, an expert on Sheets’ art. The exhibition focuses on Sheets’ dual role as an artist and educator during the years he taught Scripps, from 1932-1955. During that time, in addition to teaching, Sheets traveled extensively around the world. The works in the exhibition reflect his experiences in the 1930s in Hawaii and Mexico, and in the 1940s in the Far East, where he was a war correspondent for Life magazine.

At Scripps, Sheets built a strong studio art faculty, including Jean Ames in design, Phil Dike in watercolor painting, Henry Lee McFee in oil painting, Richard Petterson in ceramics, Albert Stewart in sculpture, and Marion Stewart in weaving. Sheets also attracted many students to Scripps and the Claremont Graduate School.

Together with the faculty artists in the 1940s and 1950s, he made Claremont into a vital artistic community.

The Scripps exhibition parallels another exhibition that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Millard Sheets’ birth, Tapestry of Life: The World of Millard Sheets, which will be at the Los Angeles County Fair from September 7 to September 30. The exhibition is directed by Tony Sheets, the artist’s son, and selected by Janet Blake.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Janet Blake will lecture on Millard Sheets’ art on September 18, at noon, in the Hampton Room of the Malott Commons. This event is co-sponsored by the Malott Commons Office and the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery.

The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery is located in Claremont, CA, at Eleventh Street and Columbia Ave., adjacent to Baxter Hall. The Gallery is open to the public, free of charge, Wednesday through Sunday, from 1-5 p.m. Above, Millard Sheets, Olive Grove, watercolor on paper, 1932; below, Millard Sheets, Driftwood, watercolor on paper, 1937