An exhibition of artwork from the early 20th century California art will go on view from Sept. 10 through Jan. 9, 2022, at the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks, 350 W. Hillcrest Drive, second level, The Oaks mall.
“Gifted: Collecting the Art of California at Gardena High School, 1919-1956” is organized by the GHS Art Collection Inc.
In 1919, the senior class of Gardena High School, at the recommendation of the principal, gave the school an original landscape painting by Ralph Davison Miller, beginning what was to become an annual tradition.
For nearly 40 years, until 1956, each senior class selected, purchased and donated works of art to the school, ultimately amassing a permanent collection of more than 70 paintings in the impressionist, figurative and landscape genres.
Over the years, artists, federal art projects and other individuals and organizations also made gifts of art to the collection.
The collection traces the history of Southern California art in the early 20th century, when plein-air (“in the open air”) painting and the arts and crafts movement were flourishing.
The art also reflects on world events of the era, such as the world wars, the 1918 flu pandemic and the Great Depression.
When Gardena High School moved to a new campus in 1956, the program ended. The collection was locked away on campus, unavailable for viewing.
In 2013, school alumni created the nonprofit charitable organization GHS Art Collection to protect and preserve the works of art owned by the school’s student body.
As part of the exhibition’s run, CMATO will feature lectures and art-related programming for the community to engage with the works on view.
Program information will be posted on cmato.org.
The exhibition will feature a Spanish language handout for Spanish speakers.
The museum is open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Admission is free; a $6 donation is suggested.
For more information about the museum, go to cmato.org.