A Seed of Modernism: Art Students League of Los Angeles

Founded in 1906 as a school for modern painting in defiance of the academic tradition, the Art Students League of Los Angeles was a crucial institution in the development of Southern California art. Its early instructors taught in the Realist style of the Ashcan School until Stanton Macdonald-Wright assumed the directorship in 1923 and gave the school a new vitality. During his nine-year tenure, the League became a diverse center, stressing the art of as the Middle and Far East as well as Western Europe. When Macdonald-Wright stepped down in 1932, artists such as Lorser Feitelson and Benji Okubo directed the school, and a unique style developed at the League—the blending of Japanese art techniques and themes along with Macdonald-Wright’s color theories. After Pearl Harbor and during the incarceration of Japanese-Americans, the school languished and eventually dispersed, but not before former Macdonald-Wright students Okubo and Hideo Date established a branch of the Art Students League at the Heart Mountain Concentration Camp in Wyoming. The PMCA is proud to present the first comprehensive museum exhibition and catalogue detailing the fascinating history of this group of gifted artists.

Support for this exhibition has been provided by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Tournament of Roses Foundation, Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg Arts Foundation, Bente and Gerald Buck, Anthony and Mary Podell, George and Irene Stern, Lynn and Tim Mason, Jerry Solomon Custom Picture Frames, Louis Stern Fine Arts, Kelley Gallery, Whitney Ganz, Maurine St. Gaudens, National Mustang Association and Harris Art Works, and Simon Chiu.