This educational site is dedicated to the works of the painters of the California Impressionists, which was probably the largest plein-air movement in art history. It will be expanded as time allows and new content is discovered. If you have documents or photographs you would like to add to the historical record, contributions or comments, please feel free to send an e-mail. The business of illuminating the life of any artist or movement is slow and painstaking, but the collective power of the internet will allow us to create a much fuller picture.
Jeffrey Morseburg is the author/editor of this site. He is the son of Howard Morseburg, a prominent dealer who was active from the 1950s through the 1990s. He grew up in the art business during the 1960s, learning it from the ground up by stretching, varnishing, framing, packing, crating and hanging paintings. During the 1960s his father represented some of the remaining California Plein-Air painters who were in their later years. Of course, no one had yet coined the terms “California Impressionist” or “California Plein-Air Painer,” so they were just “old artists” who still worked in the painterly landscape tradition that dated back to the early years of the century. Because he was artistically talented, Morseburg studied at the Lukits Academy (f. 1924), a traditionalist atelier, with the portrait and Plein-Air Painter Theodore Lukits (1897-1992), last of the prominent artists of the 1920s. He learned the nuts and bolts of art historical research, to catalog and appraise works of art from his father’s gallery director, Godfrey O. Gaston, who had been research director at Kennedy and Knoedler Galleries in New York. Today, he is a curator, appraiser, archivist, writer and researcher who works in the fields of American and European Art, but also with the presentation and collection of historic documents and antiques. He has written extensively on American and European artists and curated a number of exhibitions devoted to late 19th and early 20th Century art. His most recent published work is The Jonathan Club Collection (2011), written with the pioneering California art historian Nancy Moure and Richard Reitzell, President of the Jonathan Art Foundation and descendent of Jean Mannheim.
If you have a Plein-Air painting that you would like to have evaluated, please send images of the front, back and signature and whatever history you know of the work in question and we will be glad to review them without charge. If you need a formal appraisal for insurance, estate or other purposes, we can provide one.