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Introducing the Brutons

The three Bruton sisters, Margaret, Esther, and Helen, were prolific and inventive artists working in California from the 1920s through the 1970s. Together, and separately, they experimented with modernism in a wide variety of styles and mediums, collaborated with important artists and architects, were lauded by the press, and won countless art prizes, frequently besting male artists who went on to have more successful careers. Known as the “gifted sisters from Monterey” or the “three amazing Bruton sisters,” they were called “geniuses” who “impress by the intelligence of their art.”  They earned commissions for important public art projects funded by the WPA, culminating in their masterful execution of a bas relief mural for the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco. The Brutons were paid $20,000 for the mural (more than $350,000 in today’s dollars), an astounding sum to earn in the final year of the Depression.   Despite their prominence in the early twentieth
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Bruton sisters exhibition -- now on view!

The Bruton Sisters: Modernism in the Making is now on view at Langson IMCA's gallery space at 18881 Von Karman Avenue in Irvine. The show looks beautiful, and it's so inspiring that the Brutons are receiving the attention and respect they deserve as pioneering early-20th-century women artists.

Here's a little blurb about the show: 

The Bruton Sisters: Modernism in the Making explores the Brutons’ innovative use of materials, creative approach to design, and collaborative process. A selection of their rarely exhibited paintings, prints, mosaics, terrazzos, and archival materials—paired with art by their Californian contemporaries—demonstrates the Bruton sisters’ impact. Featuring works from Langson IMCA’s permanent collection and loans from museums and private collections, this exhibition is the culmination of new research into the lives and careers of these previously overlooked women artists.

And more photos of the exhibition:

The show has been receiving a lot of media attention; people are fascinated with the Bruton sisters' story. Here are a few articles that have come out recently:

Reviving treasures by once-renowned siblings (UCI News)

It was especially exciting to see this full-page review (complete with color photographs) in the Wall Street Journal:

The exhibition was also listed among four things to check out in "Your WSJ Guide to the Weekend," which was emailed to nearly 3 million digital subscribers. Simply incredible!

If you can't get to Irvine to see the exhibition, keep in mind that it will travel to the Monterey Museum of Art where it will be on view from May 25 - August 21, 2023.  It's been a dream come true to be part of the Bruton sisters' well-deserved and long-overdue comeback.  
Bruton sisters make return in new art exhibitionBruton sisters make return in new art exhibition
Bruton sisters make return in new art exhibitionBruton sisters make return in new art exhibition

Bruton sisters make return in new art exhibition


  1. Loved this exhibit at UCI Institute & Museum of California Art! 👩🏻‍💻Dahlia


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