SPANISH COLONIAL STYLE: Santa Barbara and The Architecture of James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig

Run Dates: October 22, 2015 - January 17, 2016

Santa Barbara Historical El Paseo

This retrospective exhibition, the first in ninety years, celebrates the publication of a monograph on the work of two seminal Santa Barbara architects. Osborne Craig is widely credited with establishing the Spanish Colonial style in Santa Barbara. He left two buildings of such potency - even precocity, given his age -completed posthumously, that one suspects he would have given George Washington Smith ample competition if not for his premature death at the age of thirty-three. One was Casa Santa Cruz, the house for Irene and Bernhard Hoffmann. The other was El Paseo, which set the standard for Santa Barbara's architectural rebirth in the twenties and continues to be a reference today. His wife Mary McLaughlin Craig, indelibly linked with the houses of Plaza Rubio, followed in his footsteps and established her own identity as an architectural designer for thirty-six years.

Spanish Colonial Style: Santa Barbara and the Architecture of James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig, written by the Craigs' granddaughter Pamela Skewes-Cox and architectural historian Robert Sweeney, will be published by Rizzoli, in conjunction with the Museum in October 2015. The exquisite book includes a stunning collection of contemporary photos by Matt Walla. Pre-orders of the book, Spanish Colonial Style: Santa Barbara and the Architecture of James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig, are available for $40 from the Santa Barbara Historical Museum Store by contacting  « Visitor Services » or (805) 966-1601. Shipping is available.

Exhibition sponsored by Tanny Keeler & Kent Hodgetts, Lincoln F. Anderson, John C. Woodward, and Janet & John McCann.


Open November 19, 2015 through February 8, 2016

Santa Barbara Historical Museum ALEXANDER F. HARMER

Alexander Harmer was born in Newark, NJ. As a young man, he studied at the Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts in Philadelphia under Thomas Eakins and Thomas Anshutz. He also joined the army, stationed in California. It was here where he began his love of the West. In 1881 Harmer was assigned cavalry duty in Arizona, where he fought against Geronimo and the Apaches. Harmer became known as the "Artist of the Apaches".

In the 1890s, he moved to Santa Barbara, where he met his future wife Felicidad A. Abadie, from one of the old Spanish families who had retained the customs of their Hispanic heritage. They set up quarters in the city's Hawley Block, and in 1906, they moved to Felicidad's birthplace, the Yorba-Abadie adobe raising their seven children. He built a series of four adjacent studios on the grounds, hereby creating the first art colony along the West coast. A number of artists, including Edward Borein with his wife Lucile lived and worked in these studios.

Harmer's focus shifted entirely towards the revival of the early days of Alta California. He posed his wife and members of her family as his subjects in many of his works, incorporating the costumes and accessories passed down to her. He also dealt with present-day memoirs, among many others are the 1908 Fiesta, inspired by the visit of the Great White Fleet; the Flower Festival; and the Visit of Governor Pacheco.

In the words of Charles Fletcher Lummis, journalist, historic preservation activist, ethnographer, archeologist and publisher: . "Harmer's work has stood the test of time. Its quality, its characteristic beauty, and above all its integrity, shine through, as the soft glow of the setting sun shines through the stillness of an Indian summer".

Battle of the Flowers, Fleet Festival, 1908 Alexander F. Harmer (1856-1925) Gift of Glenn and Louise Idleman