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This work, Confirmation Class, painted in 1897, is quintessentially California. It depicts girls proceeding through the San Juan Capistrano Mission garden into church for Confirmation.

John Stern, Executive Director of the Irvine Museum.

It is believed that the Mission San Juan Capistrano is the most painted structure west of the Mississippi. Because it was easily accessible by railroad, it drew a lot of visitors and also it drew a lot of artists.

...Including Fanny Duvall, who created this painting in the Impressionist style, capturing the fleeting moments of life and light with loose brushstrokes and bright colors. Originally from New York State, Duvall was one of the earliest professional artists to settle in what would become the Los Angeles area.

One of the great differences between California and East Coast in this same period of time is that a lot of women participated actively with the men in California, where you don't see that happening in the rest of the country. If they were in New York or in Boston, there'd be a 100-year-old establishment dominated by male artists and they would have a hard time breaking into it.

Later Duvall moved to Paris, but she still considered southern California her home, even maintaining a studio in Arroyo Seco area. She died in Los Angeles in 1934.

You can learn more about San Juan Capistrano and the Mission and Rancho Period by visiting the gallery near the end of the hall to the right. The permanent exhibition there is called California Legacies: Missions and Ranchos.

Step10-Confirmation Class by Fanny Duvall, C. 1897

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