(SACRAMENTO, CA — March 9, 2020) The Crocker Art Museum has acquired "The Bull Fight," a 1936 oil painting by Surrealist and American Regionalist Edna M. Reindel (1894–1990). The artist, whose work is included in important museum collections nationwide, came to California from the East Coast.

Born in Detroit, Reindel started taking watercolor classes locally before moving to New York. She trained at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and graduated in 1923. For a time, she worked as a freelance book illustrator. In 1926, she won a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship that allowed her to spend summers painting at Laurelton Hall, the Tiffany estate on Long Island. There, she met and became friends with artist Luigi Lucioni, whose tight, meticulous painting style influenced her own.

In 1937, Reindel moved to San Fernando in Southern California to help care for her sick brother. Following his death three years later, she settled in Santa Monica and established herself as a portrait painter of Hollywood stars and their families. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art accorded her a solo show in 1940, and three years later LIFE magazine commissioned her to paint a series of works depicting women’s contributions to the war effort.

"The Bull Fight" exemplifies the artist’s signature realist-surrealist style (she described it as a “psychorealist” style). The painting attests not only to Reindel’s technical skills but to her abilities as a storyteller. The true subject of the painting is not really a bull fight as the title suggests, but a woman in blue, who is perhaps loosely based on Lady Brett Ashley from Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises." Though encircled by men, she remains independent and self-secure — a compelling personality in an otherwise faceless crowd.

"The Bull Fight" was acquired by the members of the Crocker Art Museum's board of directors, Director's Circle members, docents, and others, in honor of Lial A. Jones' 20 years as the Crocker Art Museum's director and CEO.

“It is wonderful to add this signature painting to the Crocker’s collection of work by California artists and at the same time recognize Lial’s 20th anniversary at the Crocker,” says Scott A. Shields, the Museum’s associate director and chief curator. “This painting adds significantly to our rapidly growing collection of work by women, whose contributions now account for twenty-five percent of art on display in our modern and contemporary galleries, and far surpasses the national average."

A high-resolution image is available to members of the media upon request.

Karen Christian
(916) 213-4759

Image caption:
Edna M. Reindel (American, 1894–1990), The Bull Fight, ca. 1936. Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 1/4 in. Crocker Art Museum purchase, with contributions from Donald and Denise Timmons; 2019 Docents; David Gibson and William Ishmael; Melza and Ted Barr; Yvonne J. Boseker; Claudia Coleman; Marcy Friedman; Will H. Green, M.D., and Martin Palomar; Linda Lawrence; Nancy Lawrence and Gordon Klein; Nancy and Dennis Marks; Mary Lou Stone; James and Joyce Teel, Wayne Thiebaud Foundation, and others in honor of Lial A. Jones’s 20th anniversary as Director and CEO of the Crocker Art Museum, 2019.49.

Through engaging, innovative, and life-changing interactions with art, the Crocker Art Museum provides meaningful opportunities for people of divergent backgrounds to find common ground. Founded as a public/private partnership in 1885, the Crocker features the world’s foremost display of California art and is renowned for its holdings of master drawings and international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art and offers a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, events, and programs to deepen visitor’s understanding of art, including films, concerts, studio classes, lectures, and an array of activities for families and children. More information about exhibits and programs can be found at crockerart.org