Granville Redmond's depictions of poppy fields in bloom are among his most celebrated subjects. His glorious paintings of hillsides and valleys, dotted with bold orange and yellow blooming poppies and set against cooler green meadows and towering hills, are at once both realistic views of the California spring and confident personal expressions from the leader of the region's plein-air movement.
Though born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Redmond was raised in San Jose, California. Despite an early bout with scarlet fever that left him deaf, he quickly demonstrated an aptitude for fine art and received a scholarship to study abroad at the Académie Julian in Paris. Redmond returned to California in 1898 and settled in Los Angeles where he became a leader of The California Impressionist group, also known as the California plein-air school. A regional sub-set under the broader umbrella of American Impressionism, the group was drawn to the dramatic landscape and shimmering light of the California landscape, for which the Impressionist style was well suited. Painting directly from nature, the painters recorded the color and atmosphere they experienced. Redmond brilliantly captured the California poppies in bloom in Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County in his richly colored and energetically painted Spring--Antelope Valley. Today, Antelope Valley is a State Natural Reserve.
Spring--Antelope Valley displays the influence of the French Impressionists, as well as the staccato brushstrokes of the Post-Impressionists, and the delicate patterning of the Nabis. The low horizon line evokes the vastness of the western landscape. The horizontality of the work with three bands making up the field, the mesas and the sky makes the work feel modern and almost abstract. The bright colors and lively thick paint application bring the eye forward, while the plunging perspective lines of the bushes and clouds draw the viewer deep into the painting.
In 1932, Granville Redmond gave Spring--Antelope Valley to Dr. Lemuel Clarence "Bud" Houser in exchange for dental work. Houser was a three-time Olympic gold medalist for shot put and discus at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics. He carried the flag at the 1928 opening ceremonies for Team USA. Houser went on to study dentistry at the University of Southern California and then started a practice in Hollywood where the artist, along with several movie stars, was his patient.