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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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Opening May 25 at Monterey Museum of Art

The Bruton Sisters: Modernism in the Making is opening soon at its second venue, the Monterey Museum of Art. For several years, I have dreamed of bringing the Bruton sisters' work back to their hometown of Monterey. I am thrilled that my community will be able to view and appreciate the talents of these local women artists.

For the past few weeks, I've been working with MMA staff to prepare and install the exhibition. They even put up a cool video of the show in process on social media. The wall colors were chosen specifically to compliment the works that will be on display. 

MMA is open from Thursday - Sunday from 11:00-5:00pm and admission is $15 (free if you're a member). Admission is free on "First Fridays" of each month from 5:00-7:00pm. 

I have two talks coming up. I'll be giving a presentation at the Carmel Public Library on Thursday, June 15, from 4-5pm. It's a small space, so reservations are required. Next I'll be giving a curator's tour of the exhibition at MMA on Thursday, June 29, from 5:30-7:00pm. I will discuss the Brutons' unique techniques and innovative approach to materials as well as take a closer look at selected works on display.  

In other news, Steve Gorman, a reporter for the Alameda Post, has written a series of articles about the Bruton sisters and their connection to their hometown of Alameda. You can find links to all of these articles on his website:  


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