For the first time, Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is exhibiting sketchbooks, correspondence, photos, business records and more from The Rex Brandt Archives in celebration of the acclaimed watercolorist’s 100th birthday. Rex Brandt: Awash With Color opened June 18 and will run through the end of September 2014 in LCAD’s Dennis and Leslie Power Library.
Renown for his watercolor paintings of the Southern California coast, Rexford Elson Brandt (1914-2000) was born in San Diego, grew up in Riverside, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley prior to establishing his home and studio, “Blue Sky,” in Corona del Mar, California. The publication of his paintings of the California aqueduct in Fortune magazine in 1937 launched him to national fame early in his career. For decades, Brant was the quintessential teacher, operating classes out of his studio home, leading painting excursions and writing numerous books on watercolor technique. Brandt served as president of the California Water Color Society in the late 1940s, and along with his contemporaries Phil Dike, Emil Kosa Jr., Barse Miller, Phil Paradise, George Post, Millard Sheets, Robert E. Wood and Milford Zornes, Brandt was known as part of what has been variously called the California School, the White Paper Painters and the California Regionalists.
The exhibition also showcases art and drawings by Brandt’s wife and fellow artist, Joan Irving, as well as artifacts never before displayed to the public, including Brandt’s brushes, portable easel and an unfinished watercolor painting on board. Materials loaned to the exhibition are from the collections of Shelley and Sam Walker, Mimi Hansen, and Mark and Jan Hilbert of The Hilbert Collection. The Rex Brandt Archives were donated to LCAD in 2011 by Joan Scarboro and Shelley Walker, daughters of Brandt and his wife, Joan Irving Brandt.
Known for his landscapes and murals, Brandt was involved in designing the first two studios built for LCAD, then known as the Laguna Beach School of Art. Brandt taught for the College in the early 1960′s and, in 1978, served on its advisory board and its endowment fund campaign.
“The Rex Brandt Archives have not only expanded the range of offerings available through LCAD’s Library for inspiration and research, but also demonstrate the dynamic ways in which the artist’s personal records and correspondence can inspire students when they are incorporated into a class discussion,” Burke said. “Brandt’s legacy and contributions to 20th century art will be studied and preserved for generations to come.”
On Friday, September 12, a special program will take place at the college from 4-6pm to celebrate Rex Brandt¹s actual 100th birth date.