Karl Yens (American, born Germany, 1868-1945)
Arch Beach Tavern, 1924
Oil on canvas 30 in. x 30 in. (76.2 cm x 76.2 cm)
Crocker Art Museum, Melza and Ted Barr Collection2009.7
Karl Yens (né Jens) painted portraits, still lifes, genre subjects, figures, and landscapes in both watercolor and oil. Born in Altona, Germany, Yens studied in Berlin with the genre painter Max Koch and in Paris at the Académie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant. He painted murals in Germany and Scotland before immigrating to the U.S. in 1901.
Yens initially settled in the East and fulfilled mural commissions in New York City and Washington, D.C. He moved to Southern California in 1910 and became active in Los Angeles and Pasadena. Eight years later, he established a residence in Laguna Beach, where he became a founding member of the Laguna Beach Art Association. He worked there from his studio on South Coast Highway until his death in 1945.
This painting depicts a figure strolling beneath eucalyptus trees near Arch Beach Tavern in South Laguna. Built in 1915 to house people of the motion picture industry, the building also served as headquarters for the prospective buyers who came to consider purchasing a lot in Arch Beach Heights. At first, the steep terrain and remote setting made the location undesirable. Once roads were paved, interest in the subdivision rose, and Arch Beach Heights became one of Laguna Beach’s earliest hillside communities.