California Art Nouveau! Artist Arthur Mathews


I was delighted to find out that there was an accomplished Art Nouveau painter, named Arthur Mathews, who worked in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, who lived from 1860–1945. Arthur Mathews' paintings are beautiful. What is most surprising about Mathews' work is that, in my estimation, his painting work falls squarely under the rubric Art Nouveau - which is rare for paintings - as most paintings associated with Art Nouveau actually fall under different categories such as Symbolism, Tonalism, Post-impressionism, Fauvism, Les Nabis, or even Arts & Crafts.

"The post-Impressionist  styles they [the Nabis] embraced skirted some aspects of contemporary Art Nouveau  and Symbolism." - from the Wikipedia article on Les Nabis.

But few painters of that era really produced painted works that could actually be ascribed the moniker Art Nouveau. For example, I would say that the work of Gaugin could be labelled Art Nouveau, but it might not quite fit. Gustav Klimt, on the other hand, surely must be considered and Art Nouveau painter. But there were a limited number of Art Nouveau painters and paintings.

So to find a Californian painter (albeit a Paris-educated Californian painter) who can justifiably be included in the small group of Art Nouveau painters of that time, is quite inspiring!

Check out the Wikipedia article for Arthur Frank Mathews here.

Following are a number of images of the work of Arthur Frank Mathews, which I have gathered from the internet. Apparently the biggest collection of the work - and furniture! - of Arthur Mathews - as well of that of his wife Lucia - is at the Oakland Museum of California (near my birthplace, Berkeley).

Jesse Waugh