In addition to four other new exhibitions, Sullivan Goss will open RICHARD HAINES: Midcentury Master for the 1st Thursday event in April. The exhibition comprises a full survey of the artist’s career, from his days of working for the WPA as a muralist through his heyday in the 1940s and 1950s and finally on to a small selection of works created in the early 1970s.
For midcentury architecture and design there is a well-established list of examples that have helped to solidify our conception of these styles. When it comes to paintings from this time, the aesthetic is far less cohesively ingrained in our collective consciousness. However, Richard Haines’ paintings from this period are as quintessentially part of LA’s midcentury aesthetic as homes by Joseph Eichler or furniture by Charles and Ray Eames. As the head of the painting department at Otis Art Institute from 1954 1974, there are few painters who were as influential.
Richard Haines (1906 - 1984) was born in Marion, Iowa and trained at the Minneapolis School of Art. After a storied career as a WPA muralist in the midwest, Haines came out to California in 1941 on his way to complete another mural commission in Alaska. The outbreak of World War II compelled him to stay in Los Angeles, where he began to enter local art competitions like LACMA’s Artist’s in the Vicinity. In 1944, he won first prize in the Artists in the Vicinity drawing competition, launching a new impressive career as a Modernist. In 1945, Haines was offered a job at Chouinard. In 1948, he was offered his first show of many at Dalzell Hatfield – a gallery famous for selling canonical Continental artists like Cézanne and Degas and a few special California artists like Millard Sheets. In 1954, Haines moved over to Otis Art Institute where he taught for almost a quarter century. During that time, he exhibited in museums and won prizes across the United States. He remained a muralist, too, contributing a mural for the LA Federal Building, two murals at UCLA, and working on others for a bank and a synagogue.
3:00 | Nathan Vonk