California artist E. Charlton Fortune (1885–1969) came of age during a time when women began to redefine their roles in society, pushing the boundaries of what was expected of them and challenging the status quo. Fortune, unmarried and of independent spirit, often rode her bicycle to find the perfect setting to paint in plein-air. The resulting landscapes were not delicate, soft, or feminine but bold and vigorous — and often thought to have been created by a man. Fortune’s paintings have frequently been labeled Impressionist, though moved well beyond the style. Her signature works were strong in color and rugged and gestural in execution. She spent many of her active years working in and around Monterey, California, where she maintained a home, and then, in the 1920s, lived and painted abroad for extended periods in St. Ives, England, and Saint-Tropez, France. Upon her return to California in the late 1920s, she founded and directed the Monterey Guild, a group of skilled craftspeople who, under her direction, created original, modern artworks and furnishings for churches.
Organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, E. Charlton Fortune: The Colorful Spirit is accompanied by a 240-page, full-color catalogue.