Thursday, July 18, 2013

Capturing Doheny's calm beauty

Cool blues with a sunset sky bring the quiet and peace of
Chester Place to life. St. Vincent's looms in the background.
LOS ANGELES ARTIST AND AUTHOR Leo Politi is known for the special way he rendered our city in vibrant colors and bursting with activity, celebrating its ethnic diversity years before anyone started paying attention.

He could also paint stillness and quiet. Should anyone be surprised that he found them at Mount St. Mary's College?

The image above is from Tales of the Parks of Los Angeles, Politi's 1966 tribute to the most inviting cityscapes (Palm Desert, CA: Best-West Books). The Mount's copy was found earlier this week in Coe Library storage and will be cataloged and join several other Politi books in Special Collections.

Politi  numbered among his friends many Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and visited them at Chester Place, which in the mid-1960s had recently become the Mount's bustling Downtown Campus. But he came to paint after the students had departed and the grounds were returned to the resident nuns.

With the flowers in the Wishing Well providing the only bright splash, Politi captures the cool calm of the campus. The nuns are preparing for evening prayer at the end of what had surely been a very busy day for them.

Please see our Facebook page for additional pictures of Chester Place by Leo Politi, and you're invited to visit the Spearman Room in the Chalon Campus library if you'd like to see the originals.

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