Celebrating the art of Alta Plaza

February 19, 2020 § Leave a comment


Mark Ulriksen | Dogs Only (1995)

A NEIGHBORHOOD GALLERY is celebrating a favorite local park in San Francisco with an exhibition of paintings and photographs, many offered for sale.

Alta Plaza Park, which sits at the top of Pacific Heights a block west of Fillmore Street, has drawn a variety of artists through the years to its sloping terraces — especially since the Thomas Reynolds Gallery opened nearby 25 years ago. Among the artists included in the gallery’s newest exhibition dedicated to the park are:

• San Francisco artist Mark Ulriksen, who has painted more than four dozen covers of the New Yorker magazine


Michael Reardon | Legion of Honor at Alta Plaza (2012)

• architectural watercolorist Michael Reardon, who has led plein-air paint-outs in the park and imagined how the park might look if San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum had been built there, as founder Alma Spreckels originally intended


John Payne | The Park (1959)

John Payne, a painter who had a studio on the park in the 1950s and captured, among other subjects, the Washington-Jackson cable car line, which ran by the park for decades


Veerakeat Tongpaiboon | Uphill: Alta Plaza

Veerakeat Tongpaiboon, who moved near the park from Thailand three decades ago and has made it one of his frequent subjects.

VIEW THE EXHIBITION ONLINE, or make an appointment to visit the gallery, which operates privately near the park.

Reardon watercolor selected

January 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

South Anchorage, Golden Gate Bridge | Michael Reardon

Master watercolorist Michael Reardon’s atmospheric painting of the Golden Gate Bridge has been juried into the 145th annual exhibition of the American Watercolor Society, opening April 3 at the historic Salmagundi Club in New York. The exhibition continues through April 22 at the club, which is located at 47 Fifth Avenue.

Read more: “A love for light” from Watercolor Artist magazine

Paint-out at Alta Plaza

April 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

A group of architects and artists who paint together en plein air once a month will gather at Alta Plaza Park on Sunday afternoon, April 10. The group started painting together 30 years ago, led by architect John Kriken and former SF planning director Allan Jacobs.

Master watercolorist Michael Reardon, who has been a part of the group for most of its history, brings the watercolorists to Alta Plaza, a favorite neighborhood park at the top of Pacific Heights with magnificent views and outstanding architecture. Reardon’s work has been honored by the California and American watercolor societies and the California Art Club. He is exhibiting his series, “The Fountains of Paris,” nearby at the Thomas Reynolds Gallery.

The California Art Club comes north

December 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

Bartholomew Park Winery | Michael Reardon

Founded in 1909 in the studio of Franz Bischoff in Los Angeles, the California Art Club is one of the oldest and most active fine arts organizations in the United States. With conditions in California ideal for outdoor painting, the club gave birth to a new artistic movement now known as California Plein Air, or California Impressionism.

The California Art Club became the organization for artists in Los Angeles, but it didn’t reach very far north in its early years. Many Northern California artists — Xavier Martinez, Gottardo Piazzoni, Percy Gray, Arthur and Lucia Mathews — never became members. One of the few Northern Californians who did was William Henry Clapp of the Society of Six.

Still, the club almost from the beginning established a presence in the Bay Area. In 1910, the club held its first Gold Medal Juried Exhibition — an annual event that continues today. The second exhibition in 1911 traveled to San Francisco and Sacramento. The exhibitions in 1912 and 1913 also came to San Francisco. But it remained a club primarily for painters in Southern California.

In recent years a resurgent interest in California plein-air landscape painting has revived and reinvigorated the club. Its programs, paintouts and other activities since then have been extensive — but mostly, as before, in Southern California. Upon its centennial, the club has directed resources toward greater activity in Northern California, and especially in the Bay Area. Our exhibition “Then & Now: The California Art Club in Northern California” is a celebration of the club’s 100th year and an enthusiastic endorsement of a stronger and more active presence for the club in the visual feast set before us in Northern California.

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