Marianne Mathieu

Paintings in Inventory (Click on an image for a larger view)

English born Marianne Mathieu (1827-1897) settled in San Francisco with her husband in the 1860s, and her name starts appearing in newspaper coverage of the local art scene in 1864 when the art reporter for the San Francisco Bulletin was so impressed by her watercolors that he wrote, “We have seen nothing in the state that can compete with them.” (Sept. 13, 1864). Her watercolors only occasionally appeared in local exhibitions but were always greeted with extravagant praise. In 1881, the critic of the San Francisco News Letter visited her studio in the Chamberlain House where he described her watercolors as “showing a delicate sense of color and a fidelity to nature which was only equaled by the excellence of the drawing.” (April 9, 1881). Our painting depicts a view that shows the buildings of Fort Mason in the center of the foreground and the woolen mills of what is now Ghirardelli Square in the lower right corner. In addition to being a valuable historical record of how this part of the Bay looked in the nineteenth-century, it is an excellent work of art, displaying the “delicate sense of color” noted by the News Letter critic. Mathieu paintings are extremely rare. In over thirty years, this is the first one that has come to us for sale.