This Art Museum’s Expansion Explores California Life


Millard Sheets’ 40-foot-long 1969 mosaic, "Pleasures Along the Beach."

Photo: Johnston Marklee

The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University in Orange has unveiled its monumental expansion. The new two-building ensemble designed by Los Angeles architecture firm Johnston Marklee adds 22,000-square-feet and 26 galleries to the museum, the only institution devoted to California art from the late 19th century to today.

The collection—which comprises more than 5,000 pieces—includes oil paintings, watercolors, illustrations and drawings, as well as works from film studios. Nine inaugural exhibitions will explore such themes as scenes of California life in watercolor or oils from the 1930s to the present; animation and film; and Native American art.

The expansion also includes a café, community rooms, a research library and a native garden at the entrance. But one of its greatest highlights is Millard Sheets’ 40-foot-long 1969 mosaic, Pleasures Along the Beach (above), saved from its original bank location in Santa Monica and now adorning the west-facing façade of the museum.