Walter Elmer Schofield, Boats at Dock

Date unknown
Oil on panel
Credit Line
Museum purchase with funds generously provided by the Margaret E. Phillips’ Walter Elmer Schofield Legacy Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation and James M. Alterman, 2020
25 x 30 in.

In 1934, Schofield accepted a teaching opportunity in a painting studio in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles. While there, he produced a number of paintings of the port and its boats. “What a different world it is here!” he wrote to his wife, Muriel, back in England. “These people are hospitable–I’m out nearly every night, somewhere—and a lot of publicity¬, which they all seem to strive madly for.”

Schofield would also describe San Pedro as “one of the greatest and most interesting fishing harbors in the world, and I have seen many here in the United States and abroad . . . . Not only is there industry but color and form as well. Every variety of boat, French, American, Swedish, Japanese, each peculiar in style, with bright colors to charm the eye. Red decks, white pilot houses, green and white hulls. One can readily picture what this means under the brilliant sun of California.”

In Schofield’s time, San Pedro provided the growing city with a continuous supply of fresh seafood. Today, it is one of the world’s largest industrial ports. If he were to return today, Schofield would find few traces of the quaint port he found so charming.

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