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UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art Presents New Exhibition Celebrating Summer in the Golden State

UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art (Langson IMCA) presents its new exhibition celebrating summer leisure activities and the state’s natural environment. Picturing Summer comprises 32 paintings dating from the late 19th to mid-20th century drawn from Langson IMCA’s collection supplemented by five works on loan from private collections. Eighteen works have never before been on public display. The selection of landscapes depicts verdant meadows in the state’s northern regions, shorelines and beaches, and mountains of the Pacific Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevadas. Figures appear in domestic scenes, participate in maritime activities, and enjoy the outdoors with friends.

On view July 20 through September 14, 2024, the exhibition is organized by guest curator Susan Davidson with interpretive text by UCI graduate student Dada Wang.

The state’s often-booming economy and expanded travel options by car and rail, among other factors, enabled a range of pastimes, including beach-going, fishing, hiking, and boating. These activities generated their own forms of vernacular architecture in coastal and mountainous regions. Whereas a number of paintings depict outdoor ventures in nature, others illustrate more intimate moments shared by friends and families.

Wang provided further commentary. “Purposefully mounted during the summer months, the exhibition invites Langson IMCA visitors to immerse themselves in the delights of the season and recall their own cherished memories of summer.”

Picturing Summer is organized in five sections. The first, “Leisurely Days,” portrays the private lives of ordinary people. Revealing moments of everyday activities, these paintings convey a sense of domestic tranquility while evoking universal themes of connection and belonging as in Joseph Kleitsch’s figures gardening in Red and Green (1923).

The “Sun and Sand” section includes works by plein air painters who established studios and homes along the coast. Donna Schuster, for example, purchased a small house in Laguna Beach and spent her summers there, and Claude Buck made the beach-lined city of Santa Barbara his permanent home. Expanses of sand and sea offered artists abundant material as evident in E. Roscoe Shrader’s On the Beach (1936), featuring lounging figures at the shore.

“Off the Beaten Path” features paintings of mountainous and forested landscapes that served as both subject matter and muse. The works fueled public interest in experiencing California’s natural wonders firsthand. Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel scaled wild terrain to capture secluded landscapes such as the one she pictured in Long Lake, Sierra Nevada (c. 1929) while David Park’s Forest Trail (c. 1954) affirmed hiking as a popular activity.

In the fourth section, “On the Water,” the dynamic maritime culture inspired artists who sought to capture the vibrant coastal lifestyle, leisure and working boats, and seafaring activities as illustrated in Phil Dike’s Corona del Mar, (Newport Harbor) (1932), and William Lee Judson’s California Coast (before 1928).

“Coastal Living” presents the natural beauty of the inhabited coast including fishing villages, weathered houses, and the region’s unique architectural heritage like those pictured in William Lee Judson’s Avalon Bay (1895) and Phil Dike’s Corona del Mar, aka Newport Harbor (1932).

Please check for public programs presented in conjunction with Picturing Summer.

About UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art
UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art (Langson IMCA) is home to two foundational gifts of California Art from The Irvine Museum and Gerald E. Buck estate. In addition, the permanent collection of more than 4,700 works from the late 19th century and early 20th century through present day continues to grow, augmented by acquisitions and gifts. The university is planning to construct a permanent museum and research institute to serve as a global magnet for the presentation and study of California Art within its social, historical, environmental, and cultural frameworks. Langson IMCA is currently located in an interim museum space at 18881 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 100, in Irvine, CA. It is open to all Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit Follow us on Instagram @langsonimca.

About the University of California, Irvine
Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation, and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It is located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit

William Lees Judson, California Coast, before 1928, Oil on canvas, 33 x 42 in. The Buck Collection at UCI Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art.