A California Art Apostle
Art Business

A California Art Apostle

James Irvine Swinden | Chairman, UCI Institute and Museum for California Art advisory board | UCI Foundation trustee. Steve Zylius │ UCI Running an art museum was not something James Irvine Swinden ever imagined. When his mother, Joan Irvine Smith, began feverishly collecting California impressionist artwork in the early 1990s, Swinden was happily operating a 12-acre botanical garden on the island of Kauai. So when she asked him to help set up a museum to showcase the pieces, he figured it was a temporary project. Instead, he soon became president and chief champion of The Irvine Museum, which debuted in 1993 to promote California plein-air painting, an outdoor style that focuses on light and color. Over the last quarter-century, Swinden has devoted himself to the genre, taking numerous works across the U.S. and even overseas. Two years ago, the museum donated its permanent collection – a 1,200-piece assemblage that includes canvases by Franz Bischoff, William Wendt and Guy Rose – to UCI. Until the new UCI Institute and Museum for California Art is built, Swinden continues to shepherd The Irvine Museum’s exhibits, traveling shows and coffee-table books. He also gives talks about the collection. A lawyer and businessman by […]

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