John Hubbard Rich (American, 1876-1954)
Day Dreams, 1918
Oil on canvas 24 in. x 20 in. (60.96 cm x 50.8 cm)
Crocker Art Museum, Melza and Ted Barr Collection2009.66
Born in Boston, John Hubbard Rich began his career as a commercial artist in Minneapolis and took art classes in the evening. In 1898, he attended the Art Students League in New York and then enrolled at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, under Edmund Tarbell. Tarbell’s paintings of society women in elegant interiors influenced him. Rich’s 1905 trip to Europe on a scholarship further informed his work and confirmed his penchant for exploring the decorative potential of Impressionism. Upon his return, he taught at the Groton School in Massachusetts. He moved to Los Angeles with fellow artist William Cahill in 1914, and the pair established the Los Angeles School for Illustration and Painting, where they taught for three years. He exhibited at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 and held the first of several shows at the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art. He later married the museum’s curator, Helen Wood, in 1920. An active contributor to the Los Angeles art scene, Rich was a member of the California Art Club and Laguna Beach Art Association. He also taught at the University of Southern California and at the Otis Art Institute for twenty-eight years. When Rich painted this work in 1918, Impressionism was the dominant artistic style in California. While Impressionist influence is clearly evident in color, the subject of a beautifully attired sitter in a light-filled room also attests to the influence of Tarbell. It was likely this painting that a journalist described in 1918 as an “interior by J. H. Rich in which the inside and outside lighting contrasts are handled with Tarbell ease.”1
1. Los Angeles Herald, 8 December 1918. Patricia Trenton, Ph.D., generously shared her research about this painting.