California Styles of the Artist and Educator
Darwin Musselman does some of the most carefully organized research in water color guache that I have seen. You never know where his subject comes from, but it is always presented with rich elegance.
Emil Kosa Jr.
In the Fresno Show (San Joaquin Valley Competition 1947) we honored the clarity of design and elegance of craftmanship in awarding first prize to Darwin Musselman.
(San Francisco Chronicle
October 12, 1947)
The world of art has lost a major contemporary artist...
His work was well-conceived, thoroughly researched,
carefully drafted, and dexterously executed.
John Howard Sanden
(writing upon learning of Musselman's passing)
There is no longer direct representation of Musselman's work in select galleries. During his 60-year career, Musselman had numerous exhibitions and representations.
During his most productive years, he had long-term simultaneous relationships with three galleries up and down the California coast. His earliest extended relationship was with Maxwell Gallery in San Francisco, having a one-man show there in 1950. Cowie-Wilshire Galleries represented his work in Los Angeles, peaking in 1965 with a one-man show. And, representing the central-coast in Carmel was Zantman Art Galleries, with a one-man show in 1966.
Writing the foreward for Musselman's July 1965 one-man exhibition at the Cowie-Wilshire Galleries, Alexander S. Cowie wrote:
REALISM and ABSTRACTION are two sides of the same coin to DARWIN MUSSELMAN, two aspects of seeing, both of which have their part in any view of the visible world and in any work of art that records or interprets visual experiences. In consequence he feels free to use his thoroughly mastered painting craft to emphasize now the familiar appearance of things which we term realistic and, at other times the less familiar aspects which stress the shapes, textures, colors and directions, the abstract elements of vision.
Buildings, being in themselves abstract constructions but which we see as realistically as trees or hills, are among his favorite subjects. Some of his most delightful paintings depict factory buildings, the striking architecture of the old town of Mendocino and, more recently, as the result of the last two summers in Europe, the ancient churches and palazzos of Rome and Venice. But he turns with ease from these to portraits, carefully ordered still life, the massive rock formations of Sierra landscape or to complete abstractions of shape and color.
Darwin Musselrnan was born in Selma, Calif. in 1916. Study with Lyonel Feininger in 1937 had a lifelong influence on his art. Upon graduating, from Fresno State College in 1935, where he now teaches, he won a four-year scholarship to Art Center School where he had a thorough training in the craft of painting. Other teachers who contributed to his artistic development were Willard Nash and Yasuo Kuniyoshi.
Musselman has exhibited widely, won many awards and is a member of the American Watercolor Society, the California Water Color Society and the San Francisco Art Institute.
ALEXANDER S. COWIE
(Ed. Note - Musselman discontinued participating in competitive exhibits after 1961.)