Richard Coons, Coons Gallery

Richard Coons
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Latitude: 37.3760959 Longitude: -118.418129 Elevation: 4198 ft
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Wynne Benti

Introduction

A Signature Painting Member of the California Art Club, the oldest, largest, and most active art club in the country, RICHARD COONS participated in numerous juried and published exhibitions, including several California Art Club Gold Medal Shows, and a joint exhibition with Robert Clunie at the Ventura County Historical Museum. Richard wrote and published the definitive volume on Clunie's life: Robert Clunie Plein-Air Painter of the Sierra.

Full Explanation

The son of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power hydrographer, Coons was born in Los Angeles and moved to Bishop during World War II. Richard often accompanied his father, Bill, and fellow LADWP employee, Dave McCoy (later founder of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area), on outings to the Sierra, sitting in the back seat of a Model A.

In 1945, Richard met Clunie when his grandfather, owner of the local brickyard, asked him to help deliver bricks to Clunie who was building a studio on Bishop Creek (now Coons Gallery). Though impressed by Clunie's paintings, Richard did not pick up a paintbrush until he was 47. The two men often painted together in the High Sierra, on large format canvases of three to four feet. Richard participated in numerous juried and published exhibitions in notable venues, including several California Art Club Gold Medal Shows, and a joint exhibition with Robert Clunie at the Ventura County Historical Museum.

Before his untimely death in 2003, Richard wrote and published the definitive volume on his mentor’s life: Robert Clunie Plein-Air Painter of the Sierra.

Comments

I have an original painting by W. Lee Symonds and would like to know who has his work that used to be in Bridgeport when he was running the museum there.

henryhgoodrich@hotmail.com., 2/12/2012

Hi, We just came through Bridgeport a few days ago and wanted a print of Lee’s work. Diane's dad was the guy that introduced Lee to the Eastern Sierra in the early 60's when the two of them drove from San Diego when they worked together as tech artists at Solar. We stopped in to say hi, but found out Lee passed away in 1982 and her dad (Jim Wheeler) passed in 2001. I hope you found his original painting? We just bought a print at Ed's fishing shop. Diane wrote a note to the family so they can write her and left it with the lady at the the museum.

Dave and Diane Dinning, 7/8/2012

We have a Lee painting that we purchased when we were first married. I loved it then and still do. It hangs in our home by the dining room. A nice white country home.

Dena Traina, 1/14/2013

I got to know Lee quite well during the summer of 1981 when I spent much of the summer in Bridgeport. I found out all about Horseshoe Flat and the museum. If you are not aware of this, contact me...this is truly a "once in a life time experience" as he told me. Lee has not been given the due credit for the museum. I spent many hours with him and there is much to tell about this. Lee’s Horseshoe Flat saga will blow your mind!! We should all be so fortunate...which is exactly what he told me. God Bless

Patrick Coughlin, 9/1/2013

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