Arthur Frank Mathews, 1860-1945
Arthur Frank Mathews painted the murals in the Health Sciences Library. Details of the works of Arthur Mathews can be found in Harvey L. Jones's book The Art of Arthur & Lucia Mathews. Pomegranate Communications, 2006. Harvey L. Jones is senior curator of art at the Oakland Museum of California, his book was published as a companion piece to the exhibit "California as Muse: The Art of Arthur & Lucia Mathews", October 28, 2006 - March 25, 2007.
Biography | Timeline | Bibliography | Links
Arthur F. Mathews was born October 1, 1860 in Markesan, Wisconsin, and came to California with his family at the age of six. He started his artistic career as an apprentice draftsman in his father's architectural firm in Oakland. San Francisco lithographers Britton & Rey gave Arthur Mathews a position as designer and lithographer.
In 1885 he began a five-year period of study in Paris at the Academie Julian, where he won the coveted Grand Gold Medal. Upon his return to San Francisco in 1889, he produced many paintings and murals, winning prizes and commissions for private residences and businesses. In 1890 he held his first gallery show at Vickery's Gallery, San Francisco.
In addition, Mathews began teaching at the California School of Design, (affiliated in 1893 with the University of California and renamed the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art). He soon became the director and remained in this position until 1906.
In 1894 he married Lucia Kleinhans, a fellow artist and partner in his projects.
The Mark Hopkins Institute and Arthur & Lucia Mathews' studios were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake & fire. Many of their works in public and private collections were lost as well.
After the earthquake, the Mathews rebuilt their studio as well as a furniture shop and publishing studio at 1717 California Street to help in the rebuilding of the city. The Furniture Shop produced furniture, frames and decorative objects for homes and businesses. The Philopolis Press published books on art, poetry, California, collector's editions, stationary and the Philopolis Magazine- devoted to city planning and art. At the same time, in this highly productive period, the Mathews were also working on their own paintings and murals. Many of the paintings have frames specially made for them at the Furniture Shop. In fact, the frames are an integral part of the paintings.
In 1923 the American Institute of Architects awarded Arthur Mathews its Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Painting in recognition of his many contributions to muralist art. Included among more than 20 major mural commissions were those for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the Oakland Public Library, and the State Capitol Building of California in Sacramento.
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|Year||Event or Work|
|1860||Born in Markesan, Wisconsin on Oct. 1|
|1866||Family moved to San Francisco|
|1884-1889||Studied in Paris at the Academie Julian; awarded Grand Gold Medal|
|1890-1916||Director- California School of Design (later Mark Hopkins Institute of the Arts) (later still San Francisco Art Institute)|
|1890||Painting The Death of Abel|
|1894||Married Lucia Kleinhans|
|1896||Painting- The Discovery of the Bay of San Francisco by Portola presented to the San Francisco Art Association (private collection)|
|Frieze- 104' x 3' library of Horace Hill The Arts of Peace: Music and Dance, Romance and Poesy, as well as industries such as fishing, shepherding, trade, husbandry, spinning, weaving, etc. (Oakland Museum)|
|1897||Ceiling & bay window decoration for F. M. Smith, Oakland (Borax magnate) Cupid & Psyche; Spring; Fantasy ( lost: see interior photos in Bancroft Library )|
|1898||Went to Paris with Lucia|
|1904||Murals-Mechanics Institute Library, San Francisco (destroyed in 1906 fire)|
|Murals for the residence of R. J. Taussig- Barcarole; Pastoral; Fantasie (lost)|
|1904-1908||6 mural panels- Oakland Free Library (the Greene Branch at 14th & MLK Jr. Way, now The African American Museum and Library at Oakland ), Oakland CA The Soil; The Grain; Resignation; Conquest; The Arts; Nature (12 were planned, not all were finished)|
|1906||Earthquake and fire destroys Mathews' studio and many works throughout the Bay Area|
|Magazine Philopolis founded (printed through 1914) ( Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley )|
|The Furniture Factory founded (to 1920)|
|1909||Painting- Drama, Columbia Theater, San Francisco|
|1911||Bronze relief panels for doors of Savings Union Trust Company, San Francisco CA- The Indian, The Padre, The Miner, The Youth . Also a mural- St. Francis for the Safe Deposit Lobby, and interior decorations for Board of Directors Room. (1 Grant Avenue)|
|1912||Murals- Health and the Arts , Lane Medical Library Reading Room (California Pacific Medical Center Health Sciences Library)|
|1913||Murals- 12 historical scenes for the California State Capitol Building, 4 sets of 3 panels- Adventure, The Mission Era, The Pioneers, The City ( Rotunda, California State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA)|
|6 lodge rooms, all furnishings & decorations- Masonic Temple, Van Ness & Market, San Francisco CA (destroyed or sold)|
|Mural- "Suffer Little Children to Come Unto Me" Stevenson Memorial Room, Children's Hospital (California Pacific Medical Center, California Campus), San Francisco (lost)|
|1915||Mural for the Panama Pacific International Exposition- The Victorious Spirit|
Murals- The Arts, Mechanics Institute Library, San Francisco CA
|1920||Painting- Mazurka, [repainted in 1936, retitled Intrigue ] (lost)|
|1921||Murals- 2 panels for "Catacombs" of Cypress Lawn Cemetery, Colma, CA|
|1922||Murals- 15 panels - Doe Library, University of California - Berkeley Campus, Berkeley CA (mystery)|
|Murals- Rochester Library, Stanford University, Palo Alto CA (mystery)|
|Alameda Public Library, Alameda CA?|
|Window design for picture "Christ in Gethsemane" by Henrich Hoffman|
|Murals, 2 panels- Garden Scenes , Curran Theater, side walls of the orchestra section|
|1923||awarded Fine Arts Gold Medal by AIA|
|1924||Mural- The Commonwealth -for a spot above the bench in the Supreme Court - State Building, Civic Center, San Francisco CA (lost)|
|1925||Franc Pierce Hammon Memorial Window - stained glass, Women's City Club, San Francisco|
|1934||murals for St. Francis Hotel (mystery)|
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- Jones, Harvey L. The Art of Arthur & Lucia Mathews. Petaluma, CA. Peregrine Communications, Inc. in collaboration with the Oakland Museum of California, 2006. Published in connection with the exhibition "The Art of Arthur & Lucia Mathews"
- Jones, Harvey L. Mathews: Masterpieces of the California Decorative Style. Layton, Utah: G.M. Smith, Inc., Peregrine Smith Books in association with the Oakland Museum, 1985.
Original edition published in connection with an Oakland Museum exhibit in 1972.
- Arthur Mathews: 1860... Biography and Works. California Art Research, Monographs VII, WPA Project 2874, 1936-7, edited by Gene Hailey.
A survey of the works, with biographies, of San Francisco artists of the period.
- Survey of Art Work in the City & County of San Francisco. Published by the Office of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto in 1975 as a San Francisco Bicentennial project.
- Garnett, Porter. Inscriptions at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition: selections and notes by Porter Garnett. San Francisco: [Blair-Murdock, Printers]; 1915. 35 p.
- Neuhaus, Eugen. Art of the Exposition: personal impressions of the architecture, sculpture, mural decorations, color scheme and other aesthetic aspects of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. San Francisco: P. Elder and Co.; 1915. 91 p.
- Jones, Harvey L. Essay on Arthur & Lucia Mathews, pp.104-109; in Westphal, Ruth, ed. Plein Air Painters of California: the North. Irvine, CA Westphal Publishing
- Giberti, Bruno. Rooms for a Renaissance Interior Decoration as Practiced by Arthur & Lucia Mathews at the Furniture Shop 1906-1920. Thesis, University of California, Berkeley Department of Architecture.
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- Charles S. Greene Library: Oakland Landmark Number 48
- Time Captured in Paintings: a Film on Monterey's Early Art Colony
- An Interim Report on the Conservation of the Arthur F. Mathews Murals in the State Capitol Building in Sacramento
- Mark Hopkins Institute of Art (Report on its destruction by the fire of 1906) (Museum of the City of San Francisco)
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