Sunset, Laguna Beach, California
Frank William Cuprien, 1871 – 1948
Oil on Canvas
12″ x 16″

Quintessential Radiant, Opal Jeweled Cuprien, Laguna 

“Frank Cuprien arrived in Laguna in 1912, where, according to his recollections, he had ‘come to spend a day in the village of which I had heard so much. Reports of its charm had not been exaggerated, I decided that day.'” (Deborah Epstein Solon)Cuprien settled in Laguna Beach, California, joining the artists community there in its early period and becoming an important figure in its development. Cuprien eventually built a home and studio on a coastal cliff, and called it “The Viking.” The studio offered a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean, which was to become the principal subject of his paintings for the rest of his life.While the trend in California plein air painting of the period was toward Impressionism, Cuprien at first embraced a realist approach and a subdued Tonalist palette, following his admiration for the marine painter William Trost Richards. In time, the vibrant light of California affected his use of color, and his mastery of his medium led to a loosening of his bush work. As Laguna Beach became famous as a destination for artists and art lovers, Cuprien’s work became synonymous with its allure.Frank William Cuprien (1871–1948) was born in Brooklyn, New York and began his education in art at the Art Students League and the Cooper Union Institute before studying with Carl Weber in Philadelphia. He subsequently studied music in Paris and the Royal Conservatories in Munich and Leipzig, from which he graduated in 1905. After returning to the U.S., Cuprien taught art for five years at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.He lived briefly in Catalina before moving to Laguna Beach. His home became a gathering place for local artists and musicians, where he would sometimes entertain with his piano playing. Cuprien was a founding member of the Laguna Beach Art Association and served as its president from 1921 to 1922.The Association’s work included the establishment of a public venue to exhibit and sell artworks. At first, the Association installed themselves in an abandoned community house that was known simply as the Gallery.  In the 1920s, a larger building was obtained which eventually became the Laguna Art Museum, endowed in part by the Cuprien estate.Cuprien’s artworks are part of a number of important collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, the Orange County Museum of Art, the Irvine Museum, the Laguna Beach Museum of Art, and the del Vecchio Gallery in Leipzig.Refs: Samuel Armor, History of Orange County (1921), p. 794; Emily Neff, The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890-1950 (2006) p. 116–119; Deborah Epstein Solon, “What Made Laguna Beach Special,” Art Colonies and American Impressionism (1999); Jean Stern, “Artists in Santa Catalina Island Before 1945,” Enchanted Isle: A History of Plein Air Painting in Santa Catalina Island, p.4.