The Mountains of California: New William Keith and John Muir Exhibit


William Keith's paintings of majestic mountain peaks wrapped in snow, with deft and delicate touches of blue or rose, inspired in late 19th century audiences an awe and reverence for the natural beauty of the Western slopes. It was even said at the time that Keith transported his viewers, as if by magic, into his mountain scenes.

In 1871, the thirty-two year old artist took several of his paintings, including a Mount Shasta scene, to New York for a exhibition at the Academy of Design. His mountains caused a sensation, as large numbers of Easterners were introduced to the "Alps of California."

Keith was inspired by John Muir's lively accounts of Shasta's ancient volcanic eruptions and the glaciers that sculpted their beloved Yosemite. On view with the paintings is a rare first edition of The Mountains of California, Muir's first book and the first influential text to successfully describe the remarkable topography of the Golden State. Published by the venerable naturalist in 1894, it is displayed with his earlier Harper's New Monthly and Century magazine articles on California's mountains.

"The Mountains of California" is the second of four exhibits in the Keith Room of the Hearst Art Glallery showcasing the deep friendship between William Keith and John Muir. A public reception will be held on opening day, Sunday, Sept. 9, from 2 until 4 p.m., in the gallery courtyard. The original John Muir documents are on loan from the John Muir Memorial Association's William F. and Maymie B. Kimes Collection.

The Hearst Art Gallery, a nationally accredited museum, is open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. For information about memberships or scheduling group tours, please call (925) 631-4379.

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Heidi Donner (925) 631-4069 or