. . . At the opening it was announced that the Club would sponsor a series of talks by Director Poland and Alice Klauber, with the intention of increasing the Museum’s holdings. Poland thanked the Club for its contribution of artwork, now in the permanent collection, Robert Henri’s popular portrait, Bernadita, and a landscape, Porte d’Auray, by Maxime Maufra. The entire group of women individually or collectively, continued to actively engage in building up Gallery membership and to acquire additional pictures and other works of art. Alice Klauber was a member of the Wednesday Club for twenty-two years.

. . . With the opening of the new Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego (San Diego Museum of Art), business got underway with the organization of committees. On June 18, 1925, Miss Klauber was elected to the Board of Directors (today Trustees) and served on the Executive Committee. She was, also, appointed a member of the Exhibition Committee and the Art Guild Committee. At the February meeting of the Board, she was appointed to a committee to revise the museum by-laws with members William R. Wheeler, Ralph E. Jenny, Reginald H. Poland and William H. Sallmon. When an Education Committee was approved at the March 22, 1926, she was elected Chairman.

. . . In February 1926, when Miss Klauber was appointed to the Committee to revise the By-laws of the recently incorporated Fine Arts Society that operated the Museum during October 1926, a Library Committee was authorized and she was elected its chairman. Her committee included cultural leaders Mrs. Clinton G. Abbott, 1893-1967, and Miss Gertrude Gilbert, c.1874-1947. As part of their duties they catalogued the library’s books and other research materials. By March 1927, she was a member of the Acquisition Committee. Some rare community detractors could be heard resenting her influence on the Museum and the director, specifically.

. . . The Asian Arts Committee was formally organized at the Museum March 4, 1948 with Coronado collector Mrs. Irving T. Snyder elected chairman. 49 Mrs. Snyder was a serious collector. Her collection activities began a generation earlier with her father John Stambaugh who collected the Hudson River group, later extended to old master prints and drawings and eventually to modern French art. Mrs. Snyder’s Oriental art collection was first class quality and included works such as early Chinese bronzes and Middle Eastern porcelains. Some were exhibited as long term loans to the New York Asia Society and Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Asian Arts Committee’s earliest origins, however, can be traced back to 1935 when cultural leaders Alice Klauber and Elsie Kimberley felt that there was a need for such a group, including Mrs. Leon O. Bonnet and Mrs. Ira Robbins, and with a similarly interested number would meet regularly at the public library or in homes for lectures and discussions. The longtime friendship between Miss Klauber and Freda L. Klapp, director of the La Jolla Art Center, began with a mutual interest in print collecting and an aesthetic appreciation. She occasionally spoke to the group. At the museum because of her knowledge and connoisseurship she led groups of enthusiasts for a number of years. It is through their effort that such a committee was realized. Miss Klauber had proposed a separate acquisition fund to be set up in the name of the committee and a fund raising Bazaar first held July 27, 1948. The Bazaar was one of the most successful events anticipated by the Museum membership for many years. From 1935 to 1948 the group conducted meetings at the San Diego Public Library.

Unknown photographer, Members of the Museum gather for the reception of the first showing of the
Contemporary Artists of San Diego at the Museum, Miss Klauber is in the first row, second from the left, 1930. Other noted members present include Reginald H. Poland, Esther Steven Barney, Charles Reiffel,
Everett G. Jackson and Charles Arthur Fries.

. . . In 1930, San Diego’s first major public sculpture, El Cid, was given to the Museum membership by Anna Hyatt Huntington and her husband. The membership in turn presented it to the City. Miss Klauber and the Museum’s supervising architect, William Templeton Johnson designer of the base, were appointed a committee of two to find a proper location. Today’s site with the Spanish epic hero facing the Museum was not the original location they recommended. Johnson, especially, envisioned it as a terminal element at the eastern end of Laurel Street that passed through Balboa Park and where a trolley station was located. Approaching the area the viewer would then see a silhouette of the heroic equestrian. The side view is the most powerful perspective, and would affect a greater visual impact on the viewer according to Johnson. The sculpture, however, was located in its present locale. Mrs. Appleton Bridges, who survived her husband, favored its present site on the south side of the Plaza de Panama and the Board of Directors of the Museum, governed by her wishes, apparently agreed. The sculpture, one of three versions found in New York, San Francisco and Seville, made its first appearance after a few apprehensive moments when the drapery covering it became ensnarled in the subject’s spear at its dedication and unveiling July 5, 1930, by the Spanish Ambassador Alejandro Padilla y Bell. The Spanish official was hosted by Johnson, then First Vice-President of the Museum’s Board of Directors (Trustees). The architect was never satisfied with its placement according to a family member.

. . . As an exhibiting artist, in 1932 when the Museum initiated a Gallery of Portable Pictures and Sculpture, Miss Klauber’s name was included with many of her colleagues including Maurice Braun, Everett Gee Jackson, Katherine M. Kahle, James Tank Porter, Anni Baldaugh, Dorr Bothwell, Bess Gilbert, Ruth Ortlieb Ruth N. Ball, and Katherine J. Stafford among others. 50 All the works were available for loan or sale. They were first shown in a large upstairs gallery and then later moved to a gallery on the first floor. There were some artists, of course, who objected to such handling of their art and declined the invitation to participate.

. . . Miss Klauber was one of the major donors to the Museum from its early years. She gave works of art that attract viewers today. A selective collector, she was in negotiations with dealers in New York, Chicago and San Francisco as early as the 1900s. Perhaps the earliest works given to the permanent collections were the works given to her by a young Arthur Putnam, cowboy sketches, drawings and a bas-relief of plaster. They augmented the large collection of his work given by Mrs. Alma De Bretteville Spreckels and her children, Adolph B., Alma E. and Dorothy in 1926. Throughout her lifetime she remained one of the most generous and consistent donors to the San Diego Museum of Art. Subsequent gifts varied and were given over a period of twenty-four years. In 1927 she gave ten Japanese woodblock prints and a drawing of a nude by English artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones, 1833-1898. An avid connoisseur of Oriental art, her gifts in that area formed a modest nucleus on which the San Diego Museum would build. By 1935 she became acknowledged as an authority in the field of Eastern art and was appointed to the General Art Committee for another World’s Fair, The California-Pacific International Exposition, along with her brother-in-law Julius Wangenheim, Aime B. Titus, Elizabeth Sherman, Reginald H. Poland, and William Templeton Johnson. The Committee was responsible for the selection, installation and cataloguing of the official art exhibition. Miss Klauber lent a number of Oriental art porcelains to the display. Her personal activities and involvement seemed to echo the earlier 1915-16 Exposition. In 1950 Miss Klauber gave the Museum a large number of Japanese woodblock prints that included names of artists that have become familiar through the increased interest in Eastern art since World War II; Hiroshige, 1797, Hokusai, 1760-1849, Kunisada, 1786-1864, Moronobu, d.1694, Sharadu, fl.1794-5, and Utamaro, 1754-1806. Names of these artists appear regularly in publications about modern 20th century art, and are recognized today as major influences on famous European Post Impressionist artists such a Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, 1864-1901, and Vincent Van Gogh, 1853-1890. Her interest in the medium began while she was a young art student in San Francisco where she met Bruce Porter, 1865-1975. In 1926 she had organized the Museum’s Oriental department and was “actively engaged in building an interest in the art of the Orient for many Years.” wrote Director Reginald Poland. A commentary on her gifts to the San Diego Museum observed her appreciation of the poetic attitude toward life recorded in both Japanese and Chinese prints. The author saw a consequent influence from these sources on her own painting. In addition to Japanese prints, Miss Klauber, also, gave a selection of Persian miniature paintings and rare Chinese porcelains.

. . . Several of her positions within the structure of Museum Administration and Society, such as the Museum’s first ‘honorary’ Curator of Asian Art, extended over lengthy periods of time. She had been a member of the Board of Trustees from 1925 until her death in 1950. She had resigned during that year just prior to her death. Her importance as a resourceful and dynamic bulwark in the formative years of the Museum’s development can never be over estimated.


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