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Lucia Mathews (1870-1955)


Biography from AskART:
Lucia Mathews and her husband, Arthur, were two of the most prominent artists in Northern California in the early 20th century. They were leaders in what became known as the California Decorative Style, the West Coast version of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Their philosophy was that one's environment should be in total harmony and that people should surround themselves only with objects they consider beautiful.

In addition to murals, paintings, and graphics, they were muralists and built furniture and hand-made their picture frames.

Lucia was born Lucia Kleinhans in San Francisco and attended Mills College for one year before enrolling in the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art where her future husband was Director. They married in 1894, and she then spent one summer studying in Paris with James McNeill Whistler.

In 1906, the Mathews started a magazine, "Philopolis," which was devoted to the aesthetic rebuilding of San Francisco after the earthquake, and Lucia designed many of the decorative aspects of the publication.

Between 1906 and 1920, they operated The Furniture Shop where they made custom-designed furniture. Lucia oversaw the color selections, painted pictures, and did carving, relief sculpture, and decorative screens. She liked floral designs from native California plants and often incorporated Oriental motifs. Both she and her husband made their own frames to enhance their paintings.

She was also a skilled gardener and was adviser to the designers of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Source: "American Women Artists" by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein

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