Frances Hammel Gearhart (1869-1959) of Pasadena was the most important Southern California Color Block Print artist of the first part of the twentieth century. Gearhart began as a watercolorist but she turned her talents to color block printing, which was growing in popularity in America and particularly in California. She remained devoted to color printing for the rest of her artistic life. It was in this medium she truly found herself as an artist. Gearhart's approach to printmaking was bold in her use of color and powerful in the lines of her key block.
She looked to the California landscape for her subject matter - the majesty and strength of its mountains and crags, its hidden lakes, shorelines, vistas and its multitude of trees. Seasons and times of the day captivated her. She communicated the wintery day, the morning sun on the hills, the splendor of fall. Hence, the title Behold the Day.
As a Pasadena artist, Frances Gearhart was embedded in the time, plae and ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement. Her work personifies a handcrafted asthetic: it conveys a sense of directness, immediacy, and has a strong visual impact while depicting a clearly ideal, Californian subject matter.
Produced in conjunction with the Pasadena Museum of California Art's exhibit: Behold The Day: The Color Block Prints of Frances Gearhart (October 2009-January 2010)