Thomas McGlynn (American, 1878-1966)
California, ca. 1930
Oil on canvas 34 in. x 36 in. (86.36 cm x 91.44 cm)
Crocker Art Museum, gift of Thomas A.L. and Mildred M. McGlynn2009.10
A native San Franciscan, Thomas McGlynn produced early illustrations and woodblock prints that led to his formal training at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art. Studying there from 1900 to 1905, he won scholarships and the favor of his primary instructor, Arthur Mathews. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, Mathews hired him to work at his Furniture Shop, which produced furniture, frames, decorative arts, and interior designs. McGlynn became the fulltime chief designer and assistant to Mathews in 1909, and his duties included the supervision of artisans, the installation of interiors and murals, and original design work.
McGlynn worked for Mathews until 1918. He also taught in the San Francisco school system and, for a short time, at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1938, he built a home and studio in Pebble Beach, where he remained an active member of the Monterey Peninsula art community until his death.
McGlynn’s landscapes have been called Tonalist, Impressionist, and even Luminist, all descriptions that aim to describe his unique approach to light and color. His quietly evocative early landscapes manifest the influence of Mathews’s production in their subtle, earthy hues. As his career progressed, McGlynn increasingly introduced more saturated color, yet maintained a narrow tonal range. These landscapes surveyed the Pacific coast from Mexico to Canada. In this instance, he depicts an evocative scene of barren trees set amidst California’s brilliant, golden hills.