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Rare Paintings in Monterey

Gottardo Piazzoni's California landscapes are on display in Monterey through December 2012.

Gottardo Piazzoni's mural, The Forest, at Monterey Museum of Art, image
Photo caption
Gottardo Piazzoni's 1945 The Forest fills a loading bay at the Monterey Museum of Art.


The Swiss-born landscape painter Gottardo Piazzoni (1872–1945) was once asked, “What is your religion?” According to art scholar Scott A. Shields, Piazzoni replied, “I think it is California.” The artist’s quiet reverence for his adopted state is evident at the Monterey Museum of Art, where Piazzoni’s final four murals are on exhibit through December 2012.

Influential in his day, Piazzoni worked mostly in San Francisco but returned often to Monterey County. The oil-on-canvas works he painted during the last year of his life are mystical renderings of the undulating hills and woods of California in hues of brown, mauve, and tan characteristic of the artist’s subdued style.

“What Piazzoni was interested in doing was evoking the spirit of a landscape,” says E. Michael Whittington, the museum’s executive director. The murals, which hung for years in the San Francisco Main Library before the Asian Art Museum took over the building, go on view at the Monterey museum’s La Mirada site on April 27. (831) 372-5477,

Photography by Melissa Barnes


This article was first published in May 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.