The Law Library is excited to have 2 paintings by Rollin Pickford now on display. He was born in Fresno, CA on May 23, 1912. Pickford was educated at Fresno State College and Stanford University. During his career he produced around 12,000 paintings, worked as a commercial illustrator, and taught art at Fresno State College during 1948-62.

He was a member of a group of artists who developed the San Joaquin Valley Style of painting in the 1940s. The San Joaquin Valley Style was an outgrowth of the California Style of the 1920s. The California Style was a direct response to the climate, geography, and culture of the region. Important characteristics of the California Style include:

  • Scenes roughed out in washes without preliminary sketches
  • Vivid impression of the location and time of day
  • Ordinary, often mundane, subject matter
  • A freshness of immediacy not previously seen in California painting

The San Joaquin Valley Style was a response to the challenging landscape of the Valley. The challenges of painting this landscape included flat topography, hot summers, and cold, damp winters. Dramatic changes in light, weather and color created an endless variety for watercolorists painting the same scene over and over. It is this variety that sets the Valley apart from the rest of the watercolor painting world.

In the 1950s, Rollin Pickford’s style took an experimental turn. The works from 1952-1969 show the influences of other artistic styles. Influences such as Impressionism, Cubism, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism can be seen in the paintings from the era.

By the 1960s, his output had become more diverse and prodigious than ever. His patrons could choose from non-objective, or minimalist works, representational or semi-abstract Valley landscapes, Monterey seascapes, cityscapes, detailed Victorian houses, even nudes and portraits. Rollin Pickford died in Fresno, CA on September 26, 2010. The two paintings currently on display in the first floor conference room are on loan from the Pickford family.