Hilbert Museum to Close March 20-29 to Install New Exhibitions

Hilbert Museum to Close March 20-29 to Install New Exhibitions

The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University will close March 20-29, 2018 in order to install its new spring exhibitions.  The museum will re-open with a "soft opening" on Friday, March 30 and resume its regular hours (Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-5pm). 

The official Opening Reception for the new exhibitions will be Saturday, March 31, 2018 from 6 to 8 pm (free admission, open to the public; refreshments will be offered).

The final opportunity to view the current Hilbert exhibitions will be Saturday, March 17, 11am to 5pm.  Currently on view are "California 50/50: California Art in Transition, 1940-1970," "Making Waves: A Tribute to John Severson and Rick Griffin," "California Masters: Bradford J. Salamon," "The Magic of Disney Art" and "American Illustration: Children at Play."  Only the American Illustration show will stay up through July -- the rest will close and be de-installed following March 17.

NEW exhibitions officially opening March 31 are: "Scenic View Ahead: The Westways Cover-Art Program, 1928-1981," in partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California; "Magical Visions: The Enchanted Worlds of Eyvind Earle;" "Sunlight and Shadow: A Gift from the California Art Collection of Jim and Lynne Doti;" "Character References: The Art of the Animation Drawing," and "A New Hope: The Star Wars Art of Robert Bailey."  These exhibitions will be on display through October 13.

Admission to the Hilbert Museum is free, and there is free parking (with permit obtained inside) in front of the museum. The Hilbert Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-5pm.  It is located at 167 N. Atchison Street in Orange, across from Ruby's Diner and the train station.

Hilbert Museum on "LAaRT" - PBS SoCal, Friday, February 23, 8:30 pm



Tune in to “LAaRT” on Friday, Feb. 23 at 8:30 pm on PBS SoCal to watch an episode hosted by Maria Hall-Brown from right here in the Hilbert Museum!  The episode also will include her chatting with Mark Hilbert about the museum and its exhibitions.

(Note that the show ranges all around Southern California in its various segments, but it’s all tied together by Hall-Brown hosting it from one specific arts location – and this week it’s us!)

The show is also available to watch on the PBS SoCal website

Artist Talk: Bradford J. Salamon: "Life, Work and Technique" on Feb. 15, 7 pm


Bradford J. Salamon: Free Artist Talk, February 15 at 7 pm

Painting from a live sitter, a photograph, a forgotten artifact, or filming his artistic process while painting portraits of exceptional artists, are all energizing sources for Bradford J. Salamon. Tapping into a rich palette of information, the artist transforms the essence of direct painting through layers of skill, memories, emotions and soulful passions. His art overflows with vibrant possibilities; a 21st-century vision rendered through multiple and diverse processes, media and tools.

Salamon, whose works are on display now in the exhibition "California Masters: Bradford J. Salamon: Works from the Hilbert Collection" at the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University, will give a free illustrated talk on his life, work and technique on Thursday, February 15 at 7 p.m. in the Hilbert Museum. Seating is limited and is first-come, first-served; doors will open to the public at 6 p.m.

Salamon is known for his figurative paintings and drawings of individuals and groups who engage in profound human scenarios. Currently, he expands his repertoire to include intimate portraits of vintage objects of yesteryear -- some of which are currently on display at the Hilbert -- as well as films about artists and the nature of creativity. Knowing that content cannot be conveyed in just one work of art, or expressed in only one medium, Salamon has found his personal solution. While portraiture is one of the oldest subjects, Salamon brings a newer dimension to the tried and true art. He renders in-depth views of each sitter: a biographical approach, a dialogue as he captures the many aspects of the sitter through multi-media in various sessions.

The artist, who never lacks for commissions, prefers to choose a sitter, rather than have someone ask him “to do” a portrait. Those he decides to portray in depth are people he highly admires – creative artists, writers, and musicians. In this approach, the artist builds a stockpile of reflections, capturing ever-evolving nuances of character, personality, drama, and story. He gets into the psyche of the sitter, painting a more accurate reality of each person he portrays.

Salamon combines traditional techniques with documentation to celebrate a person’s life. His biographical approach results in a rich bounty of art that deepens the relationship between sitter and artist. Once the many works of art concerning one person are assembled, the soul of the sitter and the soul of the artist can more truthfully emerge.

Chamber Music at the Hilbert Museum This Sunday, Feb. 11

 Pacific Symphony musicians will perform at the Hilbert Museum Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 at 4 p.m.

Pacific Symphony musicians will perform at the Hilbert Museum Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 at 4 p.m.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to exceptional demand, this event is SOLD OUT as of Thursday, Feb. 8.  If you would like to be placed on a waiting list, please contact Susan Key at key@chapman.edu.  If you would like to be placed on a mailing list to receive first notice of upcoming lectures, concerts and events at the Hilbert Museum, please email hilbertmuseum@chapman.edu and we'll be delighted to contact you well in advance of these great events!

Get ready for more great LIVE classical music at the Hilbert Museum!  The museum's chamber music series, presented by the INTERPLAY Festival, continues this Sunday, February 11 at 4 p.m. with a flute-and-harp duo from Pacific Symphony. Flutist Cynthia Ellis and harpist Christina Montes Mateo will present a program of works curated by Ellis, based on individual paintings in the museum, along with illuminating conversation. As an added treat, Chapman student Meghan Kemp-Gee will read an original poem she composed, also based on one of the paintings.

Light refreshments will be offered.

Admission to the concert is FREE, but you must obtain a complimentary ticket IN ADVANCE via the Chapman University online ticketing site.  Seating is very limited, and you must have a ticket to be admitted.


Carl Nielsen: The Fog is Lifting
Gary Schocker: Beyond the Fog
Stella Sung: Dance of the White Lotus Under the Silver Moon
Jean-Michel Damase: Early One Morning
Jean Cras: Suite en duo

This concert is part of the INTERPLAY Festival of arts and ideas, presented annually by Chapman University and Pacific Symphony, in association with Chapman University's College of Performing Arts and the Hilbert Museum of California Art.


"Making Waves" - Curator's free talk discusses California surfing art and culture, Jan. 20

"Making Waves" - Curator's free talk discusses California surfing art and culture, Jan. 20

Almost as soon as the sport of surfing invaded California’s shores in the 20th century, an entire socioeconomic subculture began to spring up around it. The beaches of Southern California became the center of a “surf culture” that hit its high point from the late 1950s through the ‘60s and is still active today.  From developing its own music, fashion and jargon to creating its own films, publications and art, surf culture became a signature aspect of American popular culture and a world-recognized element of the California lifestyle.

 On Saturday, January 20 at 2 p.m., the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University will present a FREE lecture by California art and surfing culture expert Gordon McClelland, in connection with the Museum's current exhibition "Making Waves: A Tribute to John Severson and Rick Griffin," which salutes two of the foundational artists of the surfing movement.  Famed guitarist Paul Johnson, one of the founding fathers of surf guitar -- who wrote the hit "Mr. Moto" for his band The Belairs -- will also be on hand to perform. The exhibition, curated by McClelland, is on view through March 31. 

McClelland's illustrated talk, with music by Johnson, is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.  For more information, call 714-516-5880.

Both John Severson (1933-2017) and Rick Griffin (1944-1991) were multi-talented fine artists as well as writers and surfers, and they worked together on surf culture’s foundational publication, Surfer magazine, which Severson created and edited. In so doing, they inadvertently established what has become known as Surf Culture Art.

Severson is widely acknowledged as the first person to produce a series of paintings devoted to surf culture imagery. Those works were exhibited in the mid-1950s at Long Beach State College to complete his MFA degree. Severson remained a dedicated surfer and continued to produce surf-related art throughout his life. He was also an avid and gifted filmmaker whose thrilling, psychedelic yet naturalistic surfing documentaries – including his most famous movie, 1969’s “Pacific Vibrations” -- served as a counterpoint to the highly Hollywood-ized “Gidget” and Frankie Avalon beach-party movies.

Severson’s art is imaginative and colorful, incorporating ideas of abstraction while remaining firmly representational. His 1963 painting “Surf Be-Bop,” on view at the Hilbert Museum, shows two surfers lounging near their boards on a bright orange beach; the work ran as cover art for Surfer magazine and was cited by Communication Arts magazine as the most outstanding cover illustration of the year.

Other Severson works on display at the Hilbert include imaginative watercolors of surf spots from California to Hawaii, and even a painting of a movie theater, open to the ocean and packed with people, showing his films in Laguna Beach.  There is also a selection of historical photographs, posters and early volumes of Surfer magazine on display. Severson passed away in May 2017 at the age of 83, after battling leukemia.

Rick Griffin was a high school student in 1960 when he began drawing surf-related works for Greg Noll Surfboards and Surfer Magazine. Indeed, it was Surfer’s founder-editor, Severson, who launched Griffin’s professional art career by reproducing his art in the magazine; thus providing Griffin with international exposure.

 Griffin went on to produce art for the San Francisco rock music hippie culture, some of which included surf images. He contributed to the underground “comix” scene and designed some of the Grateful Dead’s best-known posters and album.

 He then returned to living in Southern California, where he rode the waves regularly and produced a number of surf-related art works well into the late 1980s. Griffin became a born-again Christian in 1970, which highly influenced his art from that point on, as he added deeply felt religious imagery to his creative palette.

 Sadly, Griffin died in a motorcycle accident in 1991, at the age of 47, but his influence on poster and album-cover art, comics and surfing art remains as strong as it ever was. His art has skyrocketed in value as new generations have discovered him.

Works by Griffin on display at the Hilbert Museum include the original and rarely exhibited painting for the John Severson film “Pacific Vibrations,” now owned by a private collector; and examples of some of his intricately hand-drawn surfer “comix.”

 Says McClelland, who was a close friend of both men, “This show celebrates the lives and art of John and Rick, who were not only great artists but were truly fine human beings, with boundless creative energy and a love for surfing and living life.”

"MAKING WAVES: Personal Reflections on the Lives and Art of John Severson and Rick Griffin," a lecture by Gordon McClelland, with live music by surf guitar legend Paul Johnson, will be presented at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 20 at the Hilbert Museum. Free and open to the public. Johnson will be performing before and after the talk, so feel free to arrive early and stay late!

“MAKING WAVES: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN SEVERSON AND RICK GRIFFIN” is on exhibit now through March 31, 2018 at the Hilbert Museum of California Art, 167 N. Atchison Street, Orange, Calif.  The Hilbert Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is free, and there is free parking in front of the museum (with permit obtained at front desk). Information: 714-516-5880 or www.hilbertmuseum.org

Christmas Card Designs of Disney Artist Ralph Hulett Debut at Hilbert Museum


(December 18, 2017)  His holiday card designs -- like the backgrounds he painted for Disney animated features for more than 30 years -- sparkle with Midcentury Modern style and pizzazz.  Ralph Hulett (1915-1974), who created the backgrounds for for almost every animated Walt Disney Studios feature from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to Robin Hood (1973) was a noted California Scene painter whose colorful landscapes and cityscapes -- especially those that documented the postwar changes in Los Angeles and the region -- are widely collected. But in addition to his Disney duties and fine-art work, he also kept up another financially lucrative sideline: designing Christmas cards for several well-known card publishers.


A mini-exhibition of Hulett's original paintings for these cards is on display at the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University, now through January 31, 2018.  The museum, located at 167 N. Atchison Street in Orange, CA, is open Tuesdays-Saturdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free to the public. Parking is free in front of the museum with a permit obtained inside. For more information, the public can call 714-516-5880 or visit www.hilbertmuseum.com.

Hulett was born in Kankakee, Illlinois, and came to California with his family as a teenager. He attended Glendale High School, where his prodigal talents in art were soon recognized, and was awarded a four-year scholarship to study at L.A.'s Chouinard Art Institute, already becoming known as a training ground for Walt Disney Studios artists.  His teachers at Chouinard included the now-renowned California Scene painters Millard Sheets, Phil Dike and Phil Paradise. Disney hired Hulett before he had graduated from Chouinard to work on the studio's first animated feature-length film, Snow White.  After he graduated in 1938, he worked full-time for Disney, contributing watercolor backgrounds to such classics as Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi and many more, on up through hits like Cinderella, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, The Jungle Book and Robin Hood.


Throughout these decades, he was also burnishing his reputation as a fine-art painter, selling his work through L.A. galleries and exhibiting as far away as New York City. Several of his watercolors, and many of his oils depicting the changing areas of Los Angeles (especially the  Bunker Hill region) reside in The Hilbert Collection. 

But of particular seasonal interest are the holiday cards he designed In the 1950s for the Designers' Showcase and California Artists companies.  The crisp, colorful designs almost jingle with holiday cheer: Hulett had a particular fondness for rural snowscapes populated by deer, rabbits and other forest creatures, as well as elegant Christmas cityscapes and cozy Americana villages with children playing in the snow.  All are painted with a swift, sure hand, warmth and humor, and -- if you look closely -- a nostalgic resemblance to some of your favorite Disney features.



Hilbert Museum Opening Reception for Fall Exhibitions is Saturday, Oct. 7


Hilbert Museum to Open Five New Fall Exhibitions on Saturday, October 7


The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University will open five new exhibitions on Saturday, October 7, with a free opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. 

The museum, located at 167 N. Atchison Street in Orange, opened in spring 2016 and has already attracted more than 15,000 visitors.  Admission to the Hilbert Museum is always free, and it is open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.   Limited free parking is available in front of the museum with a permit obtained inside.   For more information, the public can call 714-516-5880 or visit www.hilbertmuseum.org.

The museum will be closed from September 24 to October 6 to install the new exhibitions.

The five new exhibitions are:  “50/50: California Art in Transition,” “Making Waves: The Surf Art of Rick Griffin and John Severson,” “American Illustration: Children at Play,” “The Magic of Disney Art, Featuring Pinocchio,” and “California Masters: Bradford J. Salamon” will open with reception on Saturday, October 7, 5-8 p.m

The New Exhibitions:

“50/50: California Art in Transition, 1940-1970,” curated by Glen Knowles, examines the period including World War II and the following decades, when artists and art techniques from Europe and around the world flooded into California, bringing new ideas of modernism. In California art schools, there was a split, with about half of them teaching the new modernism and abstraction, and half adhering to conservative representational methods. This exhibition shows how an exhibition of the time, presented by a California gallery or art school, would have looked.

“American Illustration: Children at Play” marks the official opening of the Hilbert Museum’s new American Illustration gallery, focusing on the accomplished artists who create illustrations for magazines, books and other publications. This first exhibition spotlights magazine illustration from the 1920s to the 1950s featuring an idealized view of American childhood, with artists including Joe DeMers, Stevan Dohanos, Andrew Loomis and more.

“Making Waves: A Tribute to Rick Griffin and John Severson,” curated by Gordon McClelland, salutes the two masterful artists who contributed so much to the surfing culture in California and elsewhere. This exhibition includes Griffin’s influential painting “Pacific Vibrations,” along with Severson’s thrilling surf paintings and a collection of surfing ephemera, zines and posters.

“The Magic of Disney Art, Featuring Pinocchio,” in the Animation Art gallery, spotlights four newly acquired original animation cels from the 1940 Disney classic about the puppet who wished to be a real boy.  Also on exhibit will be animation art, concept art and more from many other Disney movies, including Lady and the Tramp, The Jungle Book and more. Many of California’s best-known artists worked for the Disney Studios, including Eyvind Earle, Mary Blair, Phil Paradise, Phil Dike and others represented in the Hilbert Collection.

“California Masters: Bradford J. Salamon” features the acclaimed Los Angeles artist’s works from the Hilbert Permanent Collection, focusing on his monumental “portraits” of vintage objects, food…and Star Wars robot C-3PO.

In addition, a selection of works from the Hilbert Museum’s permanent collection will also be on view, featuring paintings by such California artists as Emil Kosa Jr., Frank Romero, Millard Sheets, Milford Zornes and many more.


The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University, which opened in 2016, was founded thanks to the generosity of founders Mark and Janet Hilbert of Newport Beach. The Hilbert Collection – which includes oils and watercolors of urban and rural scenes, coastal views, farms, ranches and landscapes of everyday life – is a significant repository of images of the 20th and 21st centuries by California artists, celebrating the unique artistic and cultural development of the Golden State. As Mark Hilbert said when the Museum opened, “We focus on works that tell a story – the unique story of our own state, California.”

A portion of the Hilbert Collection of more than 1,000 paintings – mostly works in watercolor and oil created from the 1930s to the 1970s by such luminaries of the California Scene movement as Millard Sheets, Emil Kosa Jr., Mary Blair, Phil Dike, Milford Zornes and Rex Brandt, among others – is always on display in the Museum. In addition, rotating temporary exhibits are regularly scheduled.

 Rick Griffin, "Pacific Vibrations,"  1969, acrylic on Masonite, 43" x 29". Courtesy of Jay Guold.   

Rick Griffin, "Pacific Vibrations,"  1969, acrylic on Masonite, 43" x 29". Courtesy of Jay Guold.


 John Severson, "Surf Be Bop," 1963, oil on canvas.  Courtesy of Louise Severson.

John Severson, "Surf Be Bop," 1963, oil on canvas.  Courtesy of Louise Severson.


Free Artist Talk: SUONG YANGCHAREON at the Hilbert, Saturday, June 17, 2pm

The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University will present a FREE talk by noted artist Suong Yangchareon at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 17 in the museum's main gallery. All are invited! He will speak about his life, work and techniques in a talk titled "There's a Place."   

Admission to the museum is also FREE, and there is limited free parking in front of the building.  Additional parking is available in the Chapman film school lot – (marked “KS” on map; $2 for 2 hours; $3 for 4 hours at permit machine), and city lot one block east.

 Suong Yangchareon

Suong Yangchareon

Suong Yangchareon, born in Thailand, came to the U.S. in 1974 and now lives in Eagle Rock. He specializes in detailed, almost photorealistic paintings -- mostly of Los Angeles and environs, but also of small towns he discovers in California. His paintings often capture California days at the height of afternoon, when the sun is hot and most people are indoors, so the streets and sidewalks are empty under a blazing blue sky. But there's also an aura of expectancy in his works – a feeling that as the day wears on, people will come out and activity will resume.  

Mr. Yangchareon will be happy to answer audience questions.

Six paintings by Mr. Yangchareon are currently on exhibition in the Hilbert Museum, and two are in the Pacific Club’s art collection.  He is represented by the Paul Thiebaud Gallery.

More information: 714-516-5880 or www.hilbertmuseum.com

Follow the Hilbert Museum’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/hilbertmuseum

Come enjoy a great afternoon at the Hilbert Museum – before or after the talk, explore the Museum’s three current exhibitions:  “Golden Dreams: The Immigrant Vision of California,” “Out of the West” and “Disney Production Art,” in addition to works from the permanent collection by Millard Sheets, Milford Zornes, Emil Kosa Jr., Mary Blair, Preston Blair, Phil Dike, Ralph Hulett and many other acclaimed California artists.

 Suong Yangchareon: "Livingston, Calif.," 2015.  Acrylic on canvas.  Collection of Janet and Mark Hilbert. Currently on exhibition at the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University, Orange, Calif., through September 23, 2017.

Suong Yangchareon: "Livingston, Calif.," 2015.  Acrylic on canvas.  Collection of Janet and Mark Hilbert. Currently on exhibition at the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University, Orange, Calif., through September 23, 2017.