Fine Art

Fanciful Interpretation…
A. J. Roberts, c 1913

Fanciful Interpretation of What the Panama-California Exposition Would Look Like, ca. 1913
A.J. Roberts, San Diego Decorating Company
Oil on board, 60” x 96”
Collection of the San Diego History Center, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Cuchna, SDHC 86.6

A fanciful view: The Panama-California Exposition of 1915-16 was conceived of as a slice of Spain set down in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Artist A.J. Roberts, working for the San Diego Decorating Company, took expo architect Bertram Goodhue’s early designs and envisioned Cabrillo Canyon as a manmade lake filled with Venetian-like gondolas. There was a small pond below the bridge but never a lake. The painting hung for many years in the Aztec Brewery on Main Street until the business was sold in the 1940s. Brewery President Ed Baker gave it to beer distributor Robert Cuchna, whose son John Cushna donated it to the San Diego History Center in 1986. It currently hangs in an exhibition at the history center in the park. – Roger Showley

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