The entire state of California has long been a favorite subject for painters of all schools, styles and variety. The light, scenery, atmosphere and weather make it the ideal location to work out doors (en plein air) and to capture remarkable views.
From 1900 to 1930 there was a particular, and organized, focus by artists to work outdoors, and this is known as the California Plein Air period. The period is most closely affiliated to the organization of the California Art Club in 1906. A social organization dedicated to open discussion and debate it quickly folded, but by 1909 several of its members joined together to form a casual painting and arts group. Welcoming both male and female members the group contained some of the state's earliest Plein Air painters including Franz Bischoff, William Wendt and Jack Wilkinson Smith.
After the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition the California Plein Air movement saw even more interest due to the presentation of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works at the show.
Other groups that are considered strong representatives of the California Plein Air style include the Society of the Six, who gathered together in 1917 and were considered the avant garde of the period. They were modernist in their approach to their subjects, but unified in their purpose to use bold color, form and composition to express their own vision while painting outdoors. Members included Selden Connor Gile, Maurice Logan, William H. Clapp, August F. Gay, Bernard Von Eichman, and Louis Siegriest.
Numerous other organizations, clubs and schools developed to forward the purposes and goals of plein air painting, which usually sought to capture the immediacy of the scene or subject and to convey the atmosphere of the setting.
The most well-known California Plein Air artists include Guy Rose, William Wendt, Edgar Payne, Jack Wilkinson Smith, Selden Connor Gile, Charles Rollo Peters, Hanson Puthuff, and Franz Bischoff.