Lockwood de Forest, a Victorian furniture designer, produced entire paneled rooms out of imported Indian teak for elite clients like Andrew Carnegie and the painter Frederic Edwin Church. His esoteric wares had a brief heyday around 1890, and then he developed a new obsession: painting the moon reflected on bodies of water.
This large show of small works by Lockwood de Forest rewrites the history of art in Santa Barbara and makes a case for de Forest as at once an adventurous early plein air landscape painter, particularly of nocturnes, and an intuitive proto-Modernist hovering at the edges of abstraction. De Forest’s medium is oil, his surface board, and these horizontally oriented paintings are all approximately 9x14 inches. But within the grid-like similarity of the series, variations of scene, mood, and lighting vie with certain compositional consistencies to produce an intense and lingering overall effect.
Collecting Moonlight: The Night Paintings of Lockwood de Forest
by Karen Telleen-Lawton, Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine
What if money were no object? Would you dedicate yourself to amusement or listen to your inner voice? Lockwood de Forest listened, and painted. His muse led him around the world and then to Santa Barbara in the early 1900s.