Treasures and Tales from Sherman Library's Collections

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Sherman Library’s Mini Art Makeover

The interior of Sherman Library has had a mini makeover! If you have not visited recently, it is a good time to reacquaint yourself with the library’s art collection.

Sherman Library is home to a charming collection of Early California Impressionism and plein-air painting, styles that originated in France, and later were adopted by Laguna’s art colony painters such as William Wendt, Edgar Payne, Frank Cuprien, Anna Hills, and others. While the core of the collection was purchased by Arnold Haskell in the 1970s, over the past 10 years more artwork has been generously donated to expand Sherman Library’s holdings. The collection now includes works by Rex Brandt, Joan Irving, Dan Lutz, and Phil Dike. The current collection is a testament to the beauty of our community’s natural landscapes and a representation of how the region has changed in the last hundred years.

We invite you to come see the mini art makeover and to discover the paintings of our featured artist of the month Anna Althea Hill (1882-1930). Hill was born in Ravenna, Ohio but was raised in Olivet, Michigan, where she attended Olivet College. She then studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Cooper Union in New York, and privately with Arthur Dow. Following her passion, she spent four more years traveling in Europe and studying art at the Académie Julian in Paris.

In 1913, she moved to Laguna Beach where she became a prominent California landscape painter. Hill was noted for her highly colorful palette in both watercolor and oil. She painted throughout Laguna Beach, at the mission San Juan Capistrano, and in the California and Arizona deserts.

Anna Hills became an active member of the Laguna Beach art colony and cofounded the Laguna Beach Art Association, serving as president for several terms. Through her leadership, the Laguna Beach Art Association raised the necessary funds and public support to build its permanent gallery on Cliff Drive, which later became the Laguna Art Museum.

In 1915, she received the bronze medal at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego and was also awarded a medal at the California State Fair in 1919.

Sherman Library is fortunate to have two of her paintings: Irvine Park and Threatening Weather. Please stop by and admire these stunning works.

Irvine Park by Anna Althea Hills (1882-1930)