Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Joane Cromwell: Painter of the California Coast

Joane Cromwell
Laguna Beach
ca. n.d.
Oil on canvas
14 x 18 inches
Artist and muralist, Joane Cromwell (1895-1969), lived most of her life on the West Coast. Born Catherine Strode, she grew up in Lewistown, Illinois, and graduated with honors from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1916. Later, following a brief marriage in 1917, Cromwell settled in Laguna Beach with her mother where, several years later for professional reasons, she adopted the name Joane Cromwell. Her studio atop Temple Hills provided a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean and the gorgeous Laguna landscape. [1]

 

To continue her art education, Cromwell moved north to Los Angeles to study at the Otis Art Institute, from which she graduated in 1929. After continued study with Edgar A. Payne, George DeMont Otis, and Jack Wilkinson Smith, she returned to Laguna Beach with her husband, Joseph Skidmore, in 1936. Her technique is painterly, as she employs broad strokes and texture in her work.

Joane Cromwell
Flowers for his Majesty's Feet (Mt. San Jacinto), Painted near Palm Springs, California
Oil on canvas
ca. n.d.
28' inches x 36 inches 
MutualArt.com
Joane Cromwell spent her early career painting local coastal landscapes and later, desert scenes. Her mural work included art for the Santa Anita Race track in 1939, and for the Hollywood Park Race Track in Inglewood, in 1942. One of her large pieces, an oil painting of San Juan Capistrano, was owned by J. Edgar Hoover, and graced the wall over the desk in his office in the F.B.I. building in Washington, D.C.

Joane Cromwell
A Laguna Landmark Passes
Oil on canvas
ca. n.d.
16 inches x 20 inches
CaliforniaArtAuction.com 
The artist, who received an honorable mention at an AIC show in 1918, later hung works at exhibitions of the Laguna Beach Art Association; Illinois State Museum, Springfield; Artists' Fiesta, Los Angeles, Desert Inn Gallery, Palm Springs, Artists of Southern California, San Diego; and Springville Museum of Art, Utah. Cromwell had a one-woman show at the La Jolla Art Club (California in 1942. In addition, she is represented in the collection of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce. [2]  A prolific painter, over four hundred of her works are owned by patrons and collectors in the United States and abroad.

Joane Cromwell
Festival of Arts, Laguna
ca. 1936
Oil on canvas
23 x 27 inches

Joane Cromwell
Tanglewood
ca. n.d.
Oil on canvas
24 inches x 30 inches
_________________________________
1. Joane Cromwell, Stewart Galleries, http://www.stewartgalleries.com/JoaneCromwell.htm, (accessed June 18, 2013).
2. Kovinick, Phil and Marion Yoshiki Kovinick, An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998), p. 60.