From Plein Air to Avant Garde: California Art Club’s 108th Gold Medal Exhibition

As one of the oldest, largest and most active art organizations in the country, CAC is committed to keeping traditional art alive and believe that our unique outreach programs will continue to attract new generations of artists and patrons alike.

For more than a century, artists, connoisseurs, collector, patrons and enthusiasts have convened for California Art Club’s (CAC) Annual Gold Medal Exhibition and the series of events associated with it in honor of the pioneers of the California Impressionist Movement a.k.a. Plein Air, for which the organization is renowned. The goal is for Gold Medal artists to use classical methods to address modern themes, this year CAC returned to the venue that previously presented eight installments of its signature event – including the historic 100th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition the former location of  Pasadena Museum of California Art.

The exhibition has a long history of having no theme, this is an homage to the 19th-century art salons of Europe, in order to encourage artists to be bold and render what they consider to be their greatest work to date. Among the many treasures, some of the most striking of 2019 were “Sculpture for Peace” by Christopher Slatoff, “Black Wings” by Adam Matano, “The Silver Mask” by Charles Young Walls, “The Bar at Tosca” by Dennis Ziemienski, “Head Full of Clouds” and “A Good Hair Day” by Ismael Ordaz.

CAC’s signature exhibition of contemporary-traditional fine art spotlights more than 300 sculptures and paintings of genres ranging from landscapes and seascapes to figures and still lifes. The exhibiting artists include nationally renowned representational artists who have been active in expanding interest in the California Impressionist heritage associated with the organization’s founding in 1909. While the artists employ time-honored fine art techniques, their featured works in this un-themed exhibition seek to innovate with modern messages that address societal issues from diversity to the environment.

The pieces are unveiled for the first time at the Collectors’ Preview, an exceptional event where guests dine in the gallery surrounded by the Gold Medal artwork. This event is exclusively for Gold Medal sponsors and Collectors’ Circle members, who may “Adopt an Artist” to join them for the festivities. This event gives members and invited collectors not only the first look at all the pieces in the exhibition, but a  first shot at snagging a masterpiece for their private collection before the general public has access.

However, one need not be a member of CAC to get a good look at these modern masterpieces, the exhibit runs March 3 – 29, 2019, Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information on the art, events and programs that California Art Club offers, visit

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