Sacred Mountain: Images of Mt. Diablo and Mt. Fuji

Featuring nearly 100 works of art, circa 1650 to 2009
May 3 - July 3, 2009

Opening Events

Sunday, May 3, 2009 2:00 pm

  • Lecture: Preserving and Protecting Diablo
    Ron Brown, Executive Director, Save Mount Diablo
    Soda Activity Center
  • Remarks: Fuji and the Japanese People
    Naoko Uehara, professor of Japanese language
  • Reception following
    Hearst Gallery & patio
    Free, donations accepted
  • Exhibition fee $3 adults, children free, SMC students free

On opposite sides of the world, these two mountains are a striking part of their respective locales. In Japan, Mount Fuji is a national icon that has become one of the most enduring symbols of that country. Here, Mount Diablo dominates the skyline of Contra Costa County, visible from the San Francisco Bay Area through the low-lying East Bay hills. Many artists have been drawn to these mountains, sometimes for their sheer beauty, other times to bolster historical, spiritual or environmental messages. This exhibition will present a diverse selection of images that illustrate a wide range of artistic choices.

Landscape in Japan reached its pinnacle of popularity in the 19th century, overtaking the figure; the subject’s two great masters were Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) and Ando Hiroshige (1797 – 1858).   Figures were depicted in many of the mountain landscapes, usually dwarfed by the grand mountain, often shown winding their way up.  No artist since has depicted the majestic Fuji without appreciating the epic works of Hokusai and Hiroshige.  Both are represented in the exhibition.

Landscape painting came into prominence in the San Francisco Bay Area later in the 19th century, led by Thomas Almond Ayres (1816 – 1858), Virgil Williams (1830 - 1886), Norton Bush (1834 – 1894), William Keith (1838 – 1911), Edwin Deakin (1838 - 1923), and Raymond Dabb Yelland (1848 – 1900).   The size and dramatic vistas of Bay Area peaks continues to lure artists today.  Ayres, Bush, Deakin and Yelland travelled to the sparsely populated Contra Costa to paint Diablo.  Although a bustling, crowded and diverse county today, painters and photographers continue to make artistic pilgrimages to pristine Diablo.

A color checklist with images from the exhibition is sponsored by the Zentner Collection Inc., Fine Asian Art, Emeryville, California.  Email at
Additional funding for the exhibition was provided by Regent Pacific Management Corporation.