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The Three Prolific Sister Artists from Monterey that Time Forgot, and UCI’s Museum Update

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Detail of "Barns on Cass Street," Margaret Bruton, circa 1925, oil on canvas. Part of "The Bruton Sisters: Modernism in the Making," through May 6, at UCI Langson IMCA. Credit: Image courtesy of the UCI Langson IMCA/Barbara Carroll

During the first half of the 20th century, Margaret, Esther and Helen Bruton, also known as the Bruton Sisters, were major multitalented figures who contributed to the advancement of modern art in California. At the time, the Bruton sisters were very well known and professionally trained artists who were constantly working on art commissions on a small and large scale, even rubbing shoulders with other prolific artists of the time, such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Some of the Bruton sisters’ work can be found at UC Irvine’s Jack and Shanaz Langson Institute and Museum of California Art as part of its latest exhibition, “The Bruton Sisters: Modernism in the Making,” curated by Wendy Van Wyck Good, the librarian and archivist for Monterey Peninsula College. The exhibition is free and on view through May 6.

This trio of artist sisters were known for being creative and innovative with their materials, their interest in living art and for pushing boundaries with their artwork as early 20th century modernists.

The exhibit focuses on these themes and their inseparable bond as they lived together, traveled together and worked together, Good said.

“I think people will be surprised about their careers, how long their careers were, how many different mediums they worked in, how close they were, how well they collaborated together, and how well they supported each other. It’s just a very unusual story,” Good said.

This full story can be accessed for free in its entirety at Voice of OC.


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