Spirit of California

Oil on canvas, 30″ x 45″

Present Whereabouts Unknown.

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Painted in Los Angeles. The artist may have done more than one version of this picture for he apparently sold one to a Mr. Fred Elbridge Keeler (1872-1951) about 1930, but the picture is mentioned in the diaries for 1943/4. 

Keeler was a successful brick, tile and china manufacturer who was involved in financing the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in 1926, of which Keeler initially became President, but in July 1929 Keeler sold the assets of the company of which he owned 51 percent to the Detroit Aircraft Company (this company in 1932 went into receivership).

Letters now in the Duveen Archive (Getty Center, Los Angeles) indicate that a photograph was taken and that Sir Joseph Duveen had promised to make a contribution to the price if it was given to a Los Angeles Museum.

An Elderly Jew in Fur Cap (1645) by Rembrandt was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Fred E. Keeler of Hollywood in 1928. President and major stockholder of the Lockheed Corporation, Keeler informed the press that he and his wife hoped to build a gallery to house their pictures adjoining their home, and open it to the public. During the fall and winter of 1934-35, the Los Angeles Sunday Times published a series entitled “Southern California’s One Hundred Finest Privately Owned Paintings.” The Keeler’s “Rembrandt” was featured in the first edition of the series. When Mary Keeler died in 1939, she left their collection of art to the County Museum of History, Science, and Art, without restrictions, but this Muller-Ury was not apparently among them.