An historically interesting and significant oil painting of an intimate scene in Los Angeles' small, historical Chinatown, circa 1930's, 30" by 24", the frame 37" by 31", signed at lower left by listed Southern California artist BERTHA TOWNSEND COLER (1865-1948) and titled on stretcher "Home sweet home in old Chinatown". A label on the frame shows the original $150 price and the artist's 2021 Holly Drive, Los Angeles, address at the time. Coler was born in Ohio and studied with Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase in New York City. By 1928 she had moved to Santa Monica, California and for the next two decades was a prolific painter in watercolor and oil, concentrating on portraits and still life, with some landscapes in the mix. Coler was a member of Women Painters of the West; she exhibited at the Santa Monica library in 1933, at the Santa Monica Art League in 1934, and at the prestigious Golden Gate International Exhibition in San Francisco in 1939. Recently, a large group of her oils and watercolors were offered in a sale at the Pacific Palisades home of her descendants, and I was fortunate to have acquired a number of these works, which I will be offering in my shop.Most were still life paintings but two were of Chinatown . A restorer has cleaned the painting and tightened it on the stretchers; the result of the latter being that it is now difficult to fit it into the old frame. She did not address a very, very small puncture at lower left near the edge. The circa 1930's/early 1940's painting is a record of a time and a place that has disappeared. The alley is shown as a hospitable place for domestic life; note the two figures, the clothes hanging out to dry, and a cat, at midday when the sun is high in the sky and able to illuminate the dark corners. The Chinatowns of San Francisco and Los Angeles provided rich subject matter for artists in the first half of the century. Ask about another, large Chinatown scene by Coler acquired at the same sale (not yet cleaned/restored).
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