Duncan Gleason lived in New York and other places for work or studies but it was really Southern California where he felt most at home, and looking at his body of work, that love of the state is all there in his paintings of our landscapes.
Here Gleason shows us a perfect Southern California afternoon on the fine motor yacht Kitskad with all aboard enjoying a view of Santa Catalina Island off the California coast. Gleason and his family were frequent visitors to the island and he is known to have painted many views of its land and shores. Chewing gum magnate, and key figure in Catalina’s history, William Wrigley Jr. was a friend and collector of Gleason’s work.
Anyone familiar with Catalina’s landscape will recognize its peaks behind the yacht. With the isthmus off to the right, the boat is cruising in the calm water on the leeward side of the island. Gleason used a unique color palette which makes his work instantly recognizable- particularly in the range of aqua tones and complimentary oranges, depicted in brilliant sunlight, as we see here. Those sundrenched colors were also synonymous with California in the early 20th Century.
The craft seen here is no ordinary pleasure boat, this was a state of the art cruising yacht, a 48 foot 1950 Chris Craft DCFB (Dual Cabin Fly Bridge) Cruiser. This yacht graced the cover of Chris Craft’s brochure that year, and would have cost over $300,000 in today’s dollars. Gleason’s group of friends included some of Hollywood’s elite and area industrialists, and he often painted their yachts and sailing adventures as well as his own.
Original artist label is attached verso with the title and bearing the address of his 2411 Edgemont home in the Los Feliz area of the Hollywood Hills.
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