|E. CHARLTON FORTUNE
CHRIST MEETS HIS MOTHER
FROM THE SEVEN SORROWS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
FOR THE PROVIDENCE HOSPITAL CHAPEL, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, 1953.
OIL ON PANEL, 32 X 34 INCHES.
COLLECTION OF PAULA AND TERRY TROTTER
Last week’s arts and culture column is about one of California’s foremost (and perhaps least known) female painters.
It starts like this:
“E. Charlton Fortune: The Colorful Spirit” is on view at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) through Jan. 7, 2018.
The exhibit (comprised of approximately 80 works) was curated by Scott A. Shields, Ph.D., California art scholar and associate director of Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum.
Notes Shields, “In the early to mid-20th century, E. Charlton Fortune was one of the most important California artists, male or female. The fact that she was a woman working at a transitional moment and in an atmosphere that still discouraged female professionals makes her achievements all the more extraordinary. No one disputes her standing as one of California’s most prestigious artists.”
Fortune (1885-1969) was born in Sausalito and named Euphemia; her friends would know her as Effie. Like her father, she had a cleft palate: a condition for which reconstructive surgery was not yet available.
She experienced many other traumas. Her father died when she was not yet 10. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed the Fortune family home, almost all of her paintings and the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, where she had studied.