Arthur Frank Mathews was a painter, architect, muralist, illustrator, publisher, craftsman, and designer. With his wife, Lucia, he created a decorative style unique to California. Born in Wisconsin, Mathews moved to Oakland with his family as a child. As a teenager he enrolled at the California School of Design to study painting—he later became the school’s director. After the earthquake and fire of 1906, Mathews established the Furniture Shop, which created furniture and decorative objects.
Which figures from ancient mythology would you like to encounter in the contemporary world?
This painting features goddesses from Greek mythology; each is associated with different qualities: Aglaia (elegance, brightness, and splendor); Thalia (youth, beauty, and good cheer); and Euphrosyne (mirth and joyfulness). In this scene, Mathews transports the goddesses from ancient Greece to California—the women are dressed not in classical Greek costume but kimono-type robes suggestive of the bohemian tastes of West Coast artistic life in 1909.
Collection of May and Paul Sinsheimer