California couple ran a lucrative business with new kind of art. A century later, their work remains timeless.
By Vince Grzegorek
Feel the West Coast vibe at today's opening of California as Muse
at the Akron Art Museum — where the collection will contain 65 paintings and furniture pieces made in the early 20th century by the husband-and-wife team of Arthur and Lucia Mathews of San Francisco. The couple helped pioneer the California Decorative style, with its floral and natural motifs from Art Nouveau. "They started that revival," says Barbara Tannenbaum, curator at the museum. "They loved the beautiful reds and the vibrant, saturated hues you get, as if you were looking through cloudy, misty light."This also marks the first time in several decades that the exhibit's traveled east of the Mississippi River, from its permanent home at the Oakland Museum of California. "The exhibit is like having a trip to California during its turn-of-the-century paradise. The women were always beautiful, and the men weren't bad-looking either. And the weather is always great," says Tannenbaum. "It's an escape." The exhibit is on display from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through Sundays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays at the Akron Art Museum, 1 South High Street in Akron. Admission is $5 to $7. Call 330-376-9185 or visit www.akronartmuseum.org