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Class of Winter 1942

Agnes Lawrence Pelton
b. Stuttgart, Germany, 1881
d. Cathedral City, California, 1961
Desert Royalty, 1940
Oil on canvas
26 x 36 inches

In 1932, Agnes Pelton moved to Cathedral City in the desert near Palm Springs. There, she painted both spiritual abstracts—her signature works—and desert landscapes. Desert Royalty, a blooming smoke tree with the San Gorgonio Mountains behind it, is drenched with the light so prominent in Pelton’s work. The small tree, with its leafless ash grey branches and bright indigo blooms, was her favorite desert subject.  She completed this work at a time when her health was increasingly frail and she was seeking a more poetic approach, or as she put it, realism in ‘free verse.’ She showed the desert paintings at Stendahl Gallery in 1940; Los Angeles Times critic Arthur Millier described them thus: ”Smoke trees and mud hills fairly burn with sunlight in these, some of the best desert renderings being made hereabout.”

Learn a little more about this very worthy artist by clicking here.