Fresh to the market (acquired in southern Pennsylvania antique shop), an oil on canvas landscape of typical tawny gold hills in late summer, signed at lower left by the well-listed California artist MANUEL VALENCIA (1856-1935). The work measures 15 3/4" by 24" on the stretcher, 20 1/2" by 28 1/2" in present frame. Anyone who has traveled the state after the winter/early spring rains have ended will recognize the unreal gold hillsides against cloudless blue skies, which the artist has captured here. Valencia was born in Marin County, across the Golden Gate from San Francisco, to one of California's earliest families. Valencia was a descendant of Gen. Gabriel Valencia, the first governor of the state of Sonora, Mexico under the Spanish. His grandfather arrived in California in 1774 and was the administrator of the Presidio of San Francisco. Valencia started out as a commercial artist, after study with Jules Tavernier. He achieved increasing recognition after President McKinley purchased a painting of Yosemite. After the disruptive 1906 earthquake and fire the artist moved to San Jose but still spent time in San Francisco, becoming art editor of the San Francisco Chronicle under M.H. de Young (whose name now graces the city's art museum). Valencia maintained studios in Monterey and Santa Cruz and painted in far-flung Arizona and New Mexico as well. By 1912 he was exhibiting at the prestigious Gump's department store in San Francisco. His oils have sold for well into five figures at auction. Subject matter includes missions, adobes, nocturnes, landscapes and historical structures. This painting at some point in the past was torn in the center. An approximately 4" long cut was repaired at the time, as the reverse patch indicates, but the inpaint was not of the best quality. Ideally this area should be re-addressed, and the painting cleaned as it is quite grimy; there are wonderful dabs of color (wildflowers) hidden under the grime. The frame, possibly original, is separating at the upper left corner and some thin vertical pieces have broken out on the left side (they were kept, could possibly be glued back in if buyer intends to keep this frame).
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