UCI’s Institute and Museum of California Art is hosting a free exhibition of California Impressionist art, including “Mid-Winter, Coronado Beach” by Louis Betts, at its off-campus, interim museum through Aug. 14.

Impressionist art exhibit

by TOM BERG

“Laguna Eucalyptus” by Guy Rose

UC Irvine’s Institute and Museum of California Art has reopened its doors with a new exhibition of California Impressionist art.

“Radiant Impressions” highlights early-to-mid-20th-century artists’ use of light to convey meaning and emotion.

The exhibition includes “Mid-Winter, Coronado Beach” (1907) by Louis Betts, which presents the Southern California sun as its own character in a scene of beachgoers enjoying seaside activities. (The title intentionally reinforces the region’s alluring climate, even in winter.)

Also on display is “Laguna Eucalyptus” (c. 1917) by Guy Rose, a celebrated California painter who befriended Claude Monet while studying art in France.

“It’s a very inspiring and spiritual painting,” says Jean Stern, former senior curator of California Impressionism at IMCA, and curator of the new exhibition. “You come in through a bare area in the landscape and confront the trees and work your way up to the sky. There’s a power it has.”

A future campus museum

UCI established the Institute and Museum of California Art in 2017 following the acquisition of over 4,500 works of California art from The Irvine Museum Collection and the Buck Collection.

Together, they make one of the greatest museum collections of California art in the world, UCI officials say.

The university plans to construct an on-campus museum for these works, but, until then, it will host small exhibitions at its interim, off-campus museum at 18881 Von Karman Ave. The site – previously home to The Irvine Museum, founded by Joan Irvine Smith – has reopened after a lengthy closure due to the coronavirus. Admission is free.

“We are delighted to welcome visitors back to our space in Irvine,” Institute and Museum of California Art Director Kim Kanatani says. “There is nothing quite like seeing these beautiful artworks in person.”

To learn more, visit imca.uci.edu.