As with the other three books in Paul Elder’s quartet of formal books on the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, The Sculpture and Mural Decorations of the Exposition (1915) consists primarily of tipped-in photographs with accompanying descriptive text. A. Stirling Calder, the “Acting Chief of Sculpture of the Exposition,” has name is on the cover, but his contribution consists of a ten-page Introduction. All of the other text is by author Stella Perry.
Alexander Stirling Calder (1870-1945) was an American sculptor and educator. He was the son of sculptor Alexander Milne Calder, known for his sculptures in Philadelphia City Hall, and the father of Alexander Calder, inventor of the mobile. Calder created many pieces for the Fair, including the well-known “Star Maiden,” which curiously does not appear in this book. The model for Star Maiden was Audrey Munson, who was then at the height of her fame; it has been claimed that she posed for as many as three-quarters of the Fair’s statues. (In 1915, Munson also became the first woman to appear nude in a non-pornographic film.)
Visitors to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition could not help but be awestruck by the monumental scale of the buildings. It was a Fair of Superlatives: the grounds covered 635 acres, the Palace of Horticulture was the largest dome then in existence (larger than St. Peter’s in Rome), the Tower of Jewels rose 435 feet high–forty-three stories!
The Architecture and Landscape Gardening of the Exposition (1915), the third in the quartet of Paul Elder’s survey of the PPIE, is a photographic survey of the buildings and gardens.
Louis Christian Mullgardt (1866-1942) was an American architect associated with the San Francisco Bay Area’s Arts & Crafts period, often called the First Bay Tradition. He designed the Court of the Ages at the PPIE, and lobbied hard to save the Fair after it was over. He told the Commonwealth Club that “when the Exposition buildings are torn down, then we will have destroyed one of the greatest architectural units which has ever been created in the history of the world.” Based partly on his work at the Fair, he was chosen to design the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.
Mullgardt is listed as the author, though his content is limited to the dedication, and a half-page “reflection” and a ten-page introduction. The bulk of the book consists of 95 tipped-in photographs with descriptive texts by Maud Raymond and John Hamlin, who are credited only in the colophon.
Maud Mary Wotring was born in Ohio in 1867. She graduated from Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska in 1890 and taught Greek and Latin at Longmont, Colorado. In 1895 she married Paul Raymond. She was active in Christian missionary work, and in 1913 published The King’s Business: A Study of Increased Efficiency for Women’s Missionary Societies. In 1928 she was still living in San Francisco.
John Harold Hamlin (1880-1951) was an author active from the 1920s into the 1940s. He wrote fiction, usually with a Western theme, for both juveniles and adults.
While Eugen Neuhaus’s Art of the Exposition viewed the Panama-Pacific International Exposition as a whole, in his companion volume Galleries of the Exposition, he focused on the paintings in the Palace of Fine Arts. Neuhaus’s goal is nothing less than a comprehensive guide to the galleries:
It is certainly no small task to enjoy a large exhibit like ours and to preserve one’s peace of mind. The purpose of these pages is to assist in guiding the uninitiated, in the his visit and in retrospect, without depriving him of the pleasure of personal observation and investigation. It is not to be expected that all pictures exhibited should be of a superior kind. If so, we should never be able to learn the recognize the good among the bad.
Unlike museums today, it would seem there was little or no interpretive material in the galleries themselves, else guides like Neuhaus’s would hardly be necessary. Neuhaus moves from the European galleries, organized by country, into the American ones, each devoted to a particular artist. He likes the Impressionists (“According to the form of their colour dots they were called pointillistes… The service of these men to art can never be estimated too highly.”) but not the modern Japanese artists (“Why they want to divorce themselves from the traditions of their forefathers seems incomprehensible.”).
Neuhaus reserves his highest praise for James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, and William Keith (“some of his best things are gems in easy-flowing methods of painting which the best men of the Barbizon school seldom approached”).
Eugen Neuhaus called his book The Art of the Exposition, but it might more accurately be titled The Art Critic Goes to the Fair. Neuhaus walks through the whole complex, giving us his impressions.
The following pages have grown out of many talks given during the year by Mr. Neuhaus to his students at the University of California. Presented to the public in the form of a series of evening lectures at the University, and repeated before many other organizations through California, his interpretation of the Art of the Exposition roused a demand for its repetition so widespread as only to be met by the aid of the printing press.
The book’s main sections are: Architecture, Sculpture, Color Scheme and the Landscape Gardening, Mural Decorations, and Illumination (i.e. lighting). While electricity was no longer a novelty, the PPIE’s buildings were elegantly lit at night with a huge number of electric lights:
The first half hour after the close of day, as enjoyed around the lagoon, with the Fine Arts Building in the background, reflected in the waters, will linger forever in the minds of all who are privileged to see it. Such blues I have seen only in pictures by Maxfield Parrish. Combined with the rich gold of the colonnade, they are almost supernatural. The whole effect, as relfected in the placid surface o the lagoon, occasionally broken here and there by a slowly moving waterfowl … is inspiring, and must awaken an aesthetic response in the soul of the most ordinary mortal.
Neuhaus saves his greatest disdain for the midway, or as it was called at the PPIE, “The Zone”:
[The Zone] is invaluable, however, as an object lesson in showing the fatal results of the utter disregard of all those fundamental laws of balance, harmony, and unity so uniformly and persistently applied through the seriously designed main body of the Exposition. There is no harmony whatever in the Zone anywhere, either in the form, style, or color, unless it be the harmony of ugliness which is carried through this riotous mêlée of flimsiness and sham.
Karl Eugen Neuhaus was born in Barmen (now Wuppertal), Germany on 18 September 1879. He studied at the Royal Art School in Kassel and the Berlin Royal Institute for Applied Arts, and came to San Francisco in 1904, where he setup a studio across the corridor from William Keith. After being burned out by the earthquake and fire in 1906, he lived in Monterey and helped found the Del Monte Art Gallery.
In 1908, Neuhaus became head of the Art department at University of California, Berkeley, a post he would hold for over forty years. At the PPIE he was Chairman of the Western Advisory Committee and was a member of the San Francisco Jury of the Department of Fine Arts; he exhibited six entries. He was a popular public speaker and wrote many books on art history. Neuhaus died in Berkeley, California on 29 October 1963.
In addition, there was a special issue of Art of the Exposition from the Victor Talking Machine Company (famous for the dog Nipper and the slogan “His Master’s Voice”), consisting of a modified cover and a sixteen-page insert opposite page 1. The insert commemorates a meeting of the National Association of Talking Machine Jobbers and guests of the Victor Talking Machine Company, held on Saturday 24 July 1915 at the Victor Temple at the PPIE, then the next day at Muir Woods on Mt Tamalpais.
One hundred years ago today, on 20 February 1915, San Francisco opened its doors to the world. The sparkling Panama-Pacific International Exposition was laid out on 625 acres on the northern shore of San Francisco, what is now the Marina district. Officially, the Exposition celebrated the recent opening of the Panama Canal, but everyone knew that it was really San Francisco’s way of showing that it had recovered from the catastrophic 1906 earthquake and fire.
Some fairs call their grand buildings ‘pavilions,’ but at the PPIE they were called ‘palaces.’ There was a Palace of Agriculture, a Palace of Liberal Arts, a Palace of Transportation, a Palace of Mines and Metallurgy, and several other palaces, including, of course, architect Bernard Maybeck’s masterpiece (and one of the few surviving relics of the PPIE), the Palace of Fine Arts.
Second, Elder had ready ‘in the can’ a dozen new titles specifically related to the PPIE. Most of them sold well, and several went into multiple printings.
The grandest and most elegant of those titles was the Catalog Deluxe of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a two-volume limited edition of 1000 copies with vellum spines and copious photographs. The Catalog Deluxe contains a complete listing of everything that was displayed in the Palace of Fine Arts, along with where they could be found for viewing. There is not much text for reading; most is in Volume I in the form of profiles of genres and famous artists.
John Ellingwood Donnell Trask (1871–16 Apr 1926) was Chief of the Department of Fine Arts at the PPIE. Previously he had been Secretary and Manager of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1905–1913), the United States Commissioner General to the Exposicion Internacional de Arte del Centenario at Buenos Aires, Argentina, and to the Exposicion Internacional de Bellas Artes at Santiago, Chile, as well as to a special art exhibition at Montevideo. He also wrote a short poem printed on the frontispiece tissue guard of Bernard Maybeck’s Palace of Fine Arts and Lagoon.
John Nilsen Laurvik (1877-1953) had a huge impact on international art at the PPIE. Through the contacts of his Hungarian wife Elma Palos, he arranged for the exhibition of hundreds of paintings despite the ravages of World War I that was affecting Europe.