Category: 1939 – 1945, Built to be a Gallery

Looking Back, 1939 – 1945

Los Angeles Times art critic, Arthur Millier gives a positive review of the Whittier
Art Gallery’s opening night, stating,
“…a high level of intelligence and taste was needed to produce such a lovely place…”

1939 April 16, 𝙇𝙤𝙨 𝘼𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙨 𝙏𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙨:

Arthur Millier reports that 600 visitors attended the gallery’s opening night. He closed with, “Because the gallery is so fine, it has already been offered exhibitions of a quality which ordinarily Whittier would never have a chance to see. Whittier has shown Southern California the way”.
                                                                                                                                       Arthur Millier, 
                                                                                                                                       April 16, 1939, 𝘓𝘰𝘴 𝘈𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘛𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘴

1939 April 16th, 𝙇𝙤𝙨 𝘼𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙨 𝙏𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙨

Phil Dike exhibits water colors with thirteen other artists at the Whittier Art Gallery’s
Opening Exhibition.

Note: Phil Dike was California Water Color Society President in 1938. He was employed by the Walt Disney
Studios 1935 – 1945, where he taught drawing composition. He contributed to both Snow White and Fantasia.
Phil Dike was a key figure in the development of California style of water color painting.

Ambassador Hotel Postcard

c. 1925
This postcard shows the area that made up the Ambassador Hotel grounds in Los Angeles. The Ambassador Hotel was a gathering place for Hollywood legends and famous personalities. This postcard was likely created from a glass slide. Color photography was not invented until the late 1930s.

Ida O’Keeffe Comes to Whittier

The Whittier Art Gallery’s exhibit announcements appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and throughout 1942, the gallery had shown monthly exhibits of the work of 10 nationally-known artists.  Whatever her reasons, Ida O’Keeffe came, “an artist from the East”, moving to Whittier during the frightening years of Word War II.  She found employment as a draughtsman at the Douglas plant in Long Beach.

Guest Registry Page

By May 10, 1943, Ida O’Keeffe was established with the members of the Whittier Art Association & Gallery, and her signature appears in the registry as “Ida O’Keeffe in charge”. She was taking a turn working at the desk, and helping with the gallery’s management.

Otis Art Institute, 1939

Otis Art Institute opened in Los Angeles in 1918. Otis, located on Wilshire Boulevard in Westchester, Los Angeles, was the first independent, professional school of art in Southern California. A new campus facility replaced the original building in 1957.

Central Library Rotunda Mural

Dean Cornwall’s murals can be viewed in the rotunda at the Los Angeles Central Library. The mosaic work in the rotunda is the work of Daniel L. Lu.

It took Dean Cornwall five years of research and work to complete the murals in the Los Angeles Central Library rotunda.

Central Library Rotunda Mural, c. 1930

Dean Cornwall (1892-1960) was a celebrated and well-known during his lifetime. From 1920 through the mid-1950s, his art appeared regularly in magazines, illustrated books, and posters advertising hundreds of products. In this photo, Dean Cornwall is standing at the top of the stairs.

1943 October 8, 𝙒𝙝𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙞𝙚𝙧 𝙉𝙚𝙬𝙨:

Art Landy’s painting, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘦𝘥 𝘊𝘢𝘳, receives first place in water colors. “The Red Car” creator must have hunted diligently through all California to find the ugliest combination of hill, houses, fence and vegetation, and then stuck a sadly drawn electric car with a gigantic power pole thrust up its middle smack in the center of the hill of horrors…”

1945 May 15, 𝙒𝙝𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙞𝙚𝙧 𝙉𝙚𝙬𝙨:

The Whittier Art Association celebrated the end of their gallery’s mortgage debt on May 14, 1945. The Whittier News article shared the following:

“Perhaps more than any one other person responsible for the [Art] Association was Mrs. Myron J. Haig whose untiring efforts to have all debts paid this year were brought to a successful close when Mr. Fries held a match to the mortgage last evening”.