South Wing Galleries

Millard Sheets: California Master

February 23, 2024 – August 3, 2024
Curated by Jean Stern

A Visionary Artist Shaping California’s Cultural Landscape

Millard Sheets (1907 – 1989) was a multifaceted artist and influential figure in the American art scene who left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of California and beyond. His diverse body of work, encompassing paintings, murals, mosaics, and more, not only reflects the dynamic spirit of California but also contributes significantly to the broader narrative of American art.

The Hilbert Museum’s new exhibition titled “Millard Sheets” features a selection of 40 original paintings by the artist, showcasing his diverse talents as a painter, muralist, mosaicist, designer and teacher.

One of the pivotal aspects of Sheets’ artwork lies in its ability to capture the essence of California’s diverse landscapes. His paintings often depict the state’s iconic scenery, from the rugged coastline to the arid deserts and lush valleys. Sheets had an extraordinary talent for translating the unique quality of California light onto canvas, creating vivid and evocative images that resonate with viewers. The landscapes in his art not only serve as visual feasts but also as a means of connecting guests to the geographical and cultural identity of California.

Hilbert Museum guests can now experience the immense importance and impact of Millard Sheets’ artwork. His ability to capture the spirit of the state’s landscapes, his dedication to public art, and his influence on artistic education have left an enduring legacy. Perhaps the most celebrated of California 20th-century artists, Sheets not only created visually stunning works of art but also played a pivotal role in shaping the cultural and artistic identity of California.