Government

County Loans Painting to Local Museum

A County-owned artwork from one of the area’s most accomplished landscape painters has headed to the California Center for the Arts to be shown in an exhibition focused San Diego’s natural beauty. You can see it at its new home for a limited time.

Artist Charles Reiffel’s “Highland Dairy” (1937) is on display in “Legacy of the Land” through May 15 in Escondido.

The artist created an array of vibrant San Diego scenes in the plein air style, including “Highland Dairy,” a 47×34-inch oil painting depicting a local ranch with a mountain backdrop.

The self-taught painter and lithographer lived in the area from 1925 until he passed away in 1948. He was commissioned by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal Works Project Administration to create art for the County Administration Center when it was being built in the 1930s.

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The upcoming exhibition is organized by the Art in Nature Alliance, a collaborative venture of the California Center for the Arts, the Plein-Air Painters of America and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. The show focuses on Southern California from yesterday, today and tomorrow. The yesterday portion consists of more than 50 historic paintings of the San Diego region by some of the most well-known realist painters of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Reiffel.  

In addition to works by contemporary artists and painters from an earlier time, artwork by local high school students will be on display.

The County owns several other paintings created by Reiffel, including two lent to the San Diego Museum of Art in 2012. One painting on the 4th Floor of the County Administration Center is displayed near the Clerk of the Board’s office.

For more information about the exhibition, visit the Art in Nature Alliance online.

For more information about the County Administration Center’s historic art collection, which was meticulously restored and reframed in 2004 with funds from the County Treasure/Tax Collector and community enhancement funds from Supervisor Ron Robert’s office, visit the Clerk of the Board online.

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Michelle Mowad is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact