By the hand of the noted Polish-born Jewish artist who spent most of his life in California, BERNARD BARUCH ZAKHEIM (1896-1985) is this very early (1929) watercolor study "Mural Design for Monterey Calif". We see an image of a number of figures evidently hard at work in a landscape (possibly harvesting). The watercolor, 11 1/2" by 12" and 14" by 15 1/2" framed, dates to less than a decade after the artist arrived in California. Zakheim was born in Poland, and studied art in Danzig, Warsaw, and Munich. After serving in World War I, he moved in 1920 to San Francisco, studying at the California School of Fine Arts, and working in the-then heavily Jewish Fillmore district manufacturing furniture. In the 1930's he traveled to Mexico to meet Diego Rivera, learning mural skills which eventually led to a commission to paint the now-famous Coit Tower murals on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. This commission came about through his lobbying, with a group of artists, for a federally funded arts program during the Great Depression. This program became the Public Works of Art Project. Throughout his life, the artist's work referenced Jewish life and the Holocaust, to which he lost many family members, including his mother. Images that were anti-Fascist and pro-Left were also commonly found in Zakheim's work. The furniture business made Zakheim financially successful and he lived in Sonoma County from the 1940's on, on an old apple farm. This watercolor can be described as in a very original state of condition; in good condition considering its age and a close brush with some moisture exposure suggested by the old stained backing. I believe it had not been opened since framing, which likely occurred around the time of its execution. A new and larger outer mat and frame is most definitely indicated; one might wish to retain the present mat because of what is written on it, I believe likely in the hand of the artist: "MURAL STUDY FOR MONTEREY CALIF.". The work itself is signed at lower right Bernard Zakheim Monterey Calif. 1929" (the date hidden under the mat). See the net for much more on this interesting artist, including a most informative, beautifully illustrated website devoted to the artist.
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