Fine art at the San Diego History Center.

The San Diego History Center in Balboa Park has a fine art collection of more than 1700 works. They represent the visual culture of our region.
The San Diego History Center in Balboa Park has a fine art collection of more than 1700 works. They represent the visual culture of our region.

The San Diego History Center, originally the San Diego Historical Society, has been an important custodian of our region’s history since the organization’s founding in 1928 by civic leader George W. Marston. Their preserved documents, photographs and artifacts trace the development of San Diego from a small town in the desert-like wilderness to a modern, thriving Southern California metropolis.

Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park might be surprised when they enter one of the museum galleries to discover pieces from their Fine Art Collection. The current exhibition is titled Exquisite Views. Amazing canvases on three walls represent over 1700 pieces of fine art, many of which were donated by San Diego residents. Notable artists in the large collection include James Hubbell, Maurice Braun, Alfred Mitchell, Charles Fries, Belle Baranceanu, Charles Reiffel, Alice Klauber and Donal Hord.

There are two gigantic, amazing murals by Charles Reiffel on the walls of the museum nearby. And two more above stairs inside the Casa de Balboa. I posted photos of them here and here.

Like many cultural institutions who need support from the public, the San Diego History Center welcomes any contributions. Admission to their museum in the Casa de Balboa is free, but I’m always careful to leave a donation when I visit. Many of their fine art pieces are also up for “adoption” by art lovers. Contact them if you are interested.

The Family of Joseph W. Sefton, Sr., ca. 1890, oil on canvas, by artist Alden Finney Brooks.
The Family of Joseph W. Sefton, Sr., ca. 1890, oil on canvas, by artist Alden Finney Brooks.
By the Sea, 1940, oil on board, by artist Dan Dickey.
By the Sea, 1940, oil on board, by artist Dan Dickey.
La Cumbre Peak, Santa Barbara 1918-1920, oil on canvas, by artist Charles A. Fries.
La Cumbre Peak, Santa Barbara 1918-1920, oil on canvas, by artist Charles A. Fries.
Torrey Pines - Spring, 1997, watercolor on paper, by artist James Hubbell.
Torrey Pines – Spring, 1997, watercolor on paper, by artist James Hubbell.
Untitled Landscape (Mission Bay Causeway Bridge), ca. 1930, oil on canvas, by artist Alice Klauber.
Untitled Landscape (Mission Bay Causeway Bridge), ca. 1930, oil on canvas, by artist Alice Klauber.
Eileen, ca. 1939, oil on canvas, by artist Margaret (Margot) King Rocle.
Eileen, ca. 1939, oil on canvas, by artist Margaret (Margot) King Rocle.
Girl with a Fawn, 1935, charcoal and colored chalk, by artist Belle Baranceanu.
Girl with a Fawn, 1935, charcoal and colored chalk, by artist Belle Baranceanu.
1935 photograph from the Union-Tribune Collection shows Belle Baranceanu painting the mural Girl with a Fawn on the east side of the Fine Arts Gallery, today's San Diego Museum of Art.
This 1935 photograph from the Union-Tribune Collection shows Belle Baranceanu painting the mural Girl with a Fawn on the east side of the Fine Arts Gallery, today’s San Diego Museum of Art.
Ramona Morning, 2013, oil on linen, by artist Carol Lindemulder.
Ramona Morning, 2013, oil on linen, by artist Carol Lindemulder.
The San Diego History Center seeks to acquire new works. Their Art for the Next Century Initiative will expand their collection of historical artwork.
The San Diego History Center seeks to acquire new works. Their Art for the Next Century Initiative will expand their collection of historical artwork.
Sycamores at Springtime, 1937, oil on board, by artist Charles A. Reiffel.
Sycamores at Springtime, 1937, oil on board, by artist Charles A. Reiffel.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

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A visit inside the House of Scotland’s cottage.

People visit the House of Scotland's cottage in Balboa Park.
People visit the House of Scotland’s picturesque cottage in Balboa Park.

When I walk in Balboa Park, I usually pass through the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Inside these quaint cottages, the cultures of diverse nations are proudly on display, and world history comes to life. There is much for visitors to learn and discover.

At the International Cottages, “Houses” representing different nations all coexist peacefully. If only the world could be that way.

Recently I poked my nose into the cottage operated by the House of Scotland. Scottish culture and history have always fascinated me.

I took a few photos…

A plaque by the cottage's flagpole reads: In Memory of L/CPL Kenneth J. Haywood U.S.M.C. 1943 - 1965 Member of The House of Scotland House of Pacific Relations
A plaque by the cottage’s flagpole reads: In Memory of L/CPL Kenneth J. Haywood U.S.M.C. 1943 – 1965 Member of The House of Scotland House of Pacific Relations.
Inside the House of Scotland cottage there are fascinating photographs, artifacts and cultural displays.
Inside the House of Scotland’s small cottage there are fascinating photographs, artifacts and cultural displays.
A doll wearing a Scottish kilt, and a certificate that commemorates the 2010 San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans. The annual event takes place in Vista.
A doll wearing a Scottish kilt, and a certificate that commemorates the 2010 San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans. The annual event takes place in Brengle Terrace Park in Vista.
Bagpipes and a badge worn by a drummer of the House of Scotland Junior Pipe Band.
Bagpipes and a badge worn by a drummer of the House of Scotland Junior Pipe Band. The House of Scotland Pipe Band is well known in San Diego and performs many rousing concerts.
Diagram shows the costume of the widely recognized Dewar’s Scotch Highlander, including bonnet, gold sash, kilt, plaid, drum major’s baton and sword.
Diagram shows the costume of the widely recognized Dewar’s Scotch Highlander, including bonnet, gold sash, kilt, plaid, drum major’s baton and sword.
All sorts of interesting items on display in the cottage provide a small taste of Scotland in San Diego.
All sorts of interesting items on display inside the cottage provide a small taste of Scotland.
Many famous verses by the national poet of Scotland Robert Burns.
Famous verses by the national poet of Scotland Robert Burns.
An article describes tossing the caber at Highland Games. The origins of this unusual event is unknown. A heavy pole is flipped, with the aim that it lands straight.
An article describes tossing the caber at Highland Games. The exact origin of this unusual event is uncertain. A heavy pole is flipped, with the aim that it lands straight.
The coat of arms of two different clans. Scotland comes to life inside one of the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
The coat of arms of two different clans. Scotland comes to life inside one of the International Cottages in Balboa Park.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Lots of smiles, fun and beauty in Balboa Park!

Photographer aims at classic fountain in the beautiful Casa del Rey Moro Garden in Balboa Park.
Photographer aims at beautiful fountain in the Casa del Rey Moro Garden in Balboa Park.

Today I found lots of smiles, fun and beauty as I walked around Balboa Park! But what else is new? Every visit is wonderful!

People walk down El Prado past the amazing Casa del Prado.
People walk down El Prado past the amazing Casa del Prado.
Wedding photography near the Lily Pond in Balboa Park.
Heavenly wedding photography near the Lily Pond in Balboa Park.
Nice ladies with the San Diego Museum of Art were getting art supplies ready for a youth event this evening.
Smiling ladies with the San Diego Museum of Art were getting art supplies ready for a youth event this evening.
More smiles at a table outside the Balboa Park Visitors Center.
More smiles from volunteers at a table outside the Balboa Park Visitors Center.
A coffee mug with hearts for eyes. It must be almost Valentine's Day.
A coffee mug with hearts for eyes outside the House of Hospitality. It must be almost Valentine’s Day.
Bonsai in the exquisite Japanese Friendship Garden.
Bonsai in the always beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden.
For fun, enter the San Diego Air and Space Museum! They've got a new interactive exhibit about speed!
For fun, enter the San Diego Air and Space Museum! They’ve got a new interactive exhibit about Speed!
Beauty seen by few visitors, from the parking lot behind the Casa de Balboa.
Fantastic beauty seen by few visitors, from the parking lot behind the Casa de Balboa.
Almost time to head home. I hopped on the green Balboa Park shuttle.
Almost time to head home. I hopped on the green Balboa Park shuttle at the Plaza de Panama.
As I departed, I got a bonus smile!
And as I departed, I got a bonus smile!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Another day gently ends in Balboa Park.

Another day nears its end in beautiful Balboa Park.
Another day nears its end in beautiful Balboa Park.

I got off work a couple hours early today. To enjoy the remaining daylight, I headed over to Balboa Park.

A late January weekday was gently drawing to a close.

Late light on the Casa del Prado's colonnade.
Late light on the Casa del Prado’s colonnade.
A bit of daylight remains. People meditate on some grass in Balboa Park.
A bit of daylight remains. People meditate on some grass in Balboa Park.
A quiet late January evening at the Plaza de Balboa and Bea Evenson Fountain. The San Diego Natural History Museum shines in the last rays of sunlight.
A quiet late January afternoon at the Plaza de Balboa and Bea Evenson Fountain. The San Diego Natural History Museum shines in the last rays of sunlight.
Joggers pass through the Plaza de Panama as the sun falls behind the House of Charm.
Joggers pass through the Plaza de Panama as the sun falls behind the House of Charm.
Sunlight illuminates the rear of buildings along El Prado, as seen from the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Sunlight illuminates the rear of buildings lining El Prado, as seen from the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A group of smiling mariachis walks near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
A group of smiling mariachis walks near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
The Tea Pavilion has closed for the day. Time to sweep leaves from the patio.
The Tea Pavilion has closed for the day. Time to sweep leaves from the patio.
People enjoy the remaining daylight near Joan Miro's sculpture Solar Bird, near the entrance of the San Diego Museum of Art.
People enjoy the remaining daylight near Joan Miro’s sculpted Solar Bird, near the entrance of the San Diego Museum of Art.
The sun is almost ready to set. Clouds become luminous behind the California Tower.
The sun is getting ready to set. Clouds become luminous behind the California Tower.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Two colorful Frida portraits at Spanish Village!

Artist Frida Kahlo, by San Diego painter RD Riccoboni, outside Studio 18 in Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
Artist Frida Kahlo, by San Diego painter RD Riccoboni, on the patio outside Studio 18 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.

Look what I spied on Christmas Eve while I moseyed around Balboa Park waiting to take a special tour at the nearby San Diego Museum of Art!

As I wandered through Spanish Village Art Center, I was greeted by two amazing, colorful Frida Kahlo portraits painted by San Diego’s own RD Riccoboni. Both works of art stood just outside the entrance to Studio 18, which RD Riccoboni shares with other talented Spanish Village artists.

After enjoying these two paintings, I was treated to a special tour of Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection at the San Diego Museum of Art. The exhibition contains nearly a hundred amazing works of art, including two original Frida Kahlo pieces. It also features a fun Frida and Me activity station for children.

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition runs at the San Diego Museum of Art for a limited time. To see the blog concerning my amazing tour, as well as many photos from inside the Modern Masters from Latin America, click here.

A vibrant, butterfly-filled Purple Frida With The Orange Flower.
A vibrant, butterfly-filled Purple Frida With The Orange Flower, by San Diego artist RD Riccoboni.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

The faces of the Panama-California Sculpture Court.

Anglo-Saxon Queen, 1914. Staff plaster original statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Anglo-Saxon Queen, 1914. Staff plaster original statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.

Visitors walking through the Panama-California Sculpture Court in the Casa del Prado are greeted by many unexpected faces–faces that peer out of San Diego’s past.

The sculptures in the building’s courtyard were used in various ways to decorate the facades of buildings in Balboa Park during its colorful history. Most of the pieces are made of staff, which is a type of plaster reinforced with fibers. The artwork in the Panama-California Sculpture Court was rescued in 1975, found abandoned in a corner of the Casa de Balboa.

Please read the photo captions for information about each piece.

One of several fantastic pieces of rescued art in the Panama-California Sculpture Court at the Casa del Prado.
One of several fantastic pieces of rescued art in the Panama-California Sculpture Court at the Casa del Prado.
Religion, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Religion, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Mission Indian Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Mission Indian Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Spanish Conquistador, 1914. Staff plaster original vignette from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Spanish Conquistador, 1914. Staff plaster original vignette from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Grotesque Mask, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Grotesque Mask, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Angel Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Angel Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Junipero Serra Memorial, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Food Products Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Junipero Serra Memorial, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Food Products Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Angel Head Finial, 1971. Unused cast concrete replica of 1914 original, for the reconstruction of the building now known as the Casa del Prado. Christian Mueller, Jr., modeler.
Angel Head Finial, 1971. Unused cast concrete replica of 1914 original, for the reconstruction of the building now known as the Casa del Prado. Christian Mueller, Jr., modeler.
Velazquez, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Velazquez, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Murillo, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Murillo, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Zurbaran, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Zurbaran, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

The Alcazar Garden, like a dream.

Even when I don’t wander into the Alcazar Garden, I like to peer at it through a series of arches along El Prado. I like to watch visitors moving through the maze-like green hedges that border beautiful plants and beds of flowers.

The way the slanting sunlight touches the garden, the place always seems like a living dream. A magical sunlit dream.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!