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The Art of Pioneering: Paintings and Tales of Early California - presented by Phyliss Hansen

Thursday, April 12th at 7:00 p.m. - at the New Life Church of the Nazarene.

Join us for the Art of Pioneering: Paintings and Tales of Early California, presented by Phyliss Hansen. In the 1930s the Los Angeles Times serialized a collection of paintings by noted LA “Listed” Artist and Flapper-about-Town Orpha Mae Klinker.

Orpha Mae Klinker & Leo Carillo

These were the likenesses of a number of Southern California’s early pioneers, adventurers and descendants of LA’s first families. Each of these men and women sat for their portraits and told their incredibly amazing life adventures as Orpha captured their spirit on canvas or paper. Thus was born the “Speaking of Pioneers” series, followed by many more sittings by other movers and shakers of the day and a very historic series of landmark adobe structures, many which were the homes of the portrait subjects. A significant number of these historic artworks remained in the Klinker estate until recently, when acquired by our own board member, Phyllis Hansen.

Painting by Orpha Mae Klinker

In the 1930s the Los Angeles Times serialized a collection of paintings by noted LA “Listed” Artist and Flapper-about-Town Orpha Mae Klinker. These were the likenesses of a number of Southern California’s early pioneers, adventurers and descendants of LA’s first families. Each of these men and women sat for their portraits and told their incredibly amazing life adventures as Orpha captured their spirit on canvas or paper. Thus was born the “Speaking of Pioneers” series, followed by many more sittings by other movers and shakers of the day and a very historic series of landmark adobe structures, many which were the homes of the portrait subjects. A significant number of these historic artworks remained in the Klinker estate until recently, when acquired by Phyllis.

Orpha Mae Klinker

Our speaker, LA writer, historian and sometimes artist Phyllis Hansen is descended from Klinkers and thus will display a collection of these rare original and very historic paintings while she entertains and enlivens us with tales of art and life and the struggle to preserve a fast-fading pioneer heritage in the mad boomtown that was Southern California before and between the wars.

Painting by Orpha Mae Klinker

Life was going along swimmingly for Phyllis Hansen as a creative director in the advertising industry (think “Madmen”) and a freelance career writing for many a well-known corporate client. There were adventurous trips for fun... like the camping expedition deep in the Central American jungle, frolicking with reindeer above the Arctic Circle and roaming remote parts of India. But then, while delving into something as ordinary as her genealogy, life went careening off in new, totally unexpected directions. Exploring others’ adventurous pasts sent her down all new rabbit holes, much of it because of the serendipitous discovery that her life had unwittingly been paralleling one particular ancestor, a celebrated persona in her time for both her art and historian work.

Painting by Orpha Mae Klinker

All this led Phyllis into the world of art, California history, and the joys of research. She is now captivated by all sorts of little nuggets of knowledge about her family’s history of gold mining, ventriloquism, aviation, historic adobes, and the men and women who once lived in them and ran the Western world. As a result, Phyllis now serves on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles As Subject consortium of archival organizations, the Boards of the Campo de Cahuenga Historical Memorial Assn. and the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, edits historical and biographical articles as a Wikipedian, exhibits her own artwork, still keeps her fingers in advertising creative work and does these presentations on art and history... just as her relative Orpha Klinker did a century ago.

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