Millard Sheets was an artist of epic proportions, making a mark nationally and internationally, and remains an extraordinary source of pride to his hometown of Pomona, California. To salute its native son and to share his gift with its 1.4 million guests, the L.A. County Fair proudly presents A Tapestry of Life: The World of Millard Sheets, in the newly named Millard Sheets Center for the Arts at Fairplex, Sept. 7-30. Fairguests will have the opportunity to learn more about Sheets and to experience his amazing art and the tangible contributions that were made and that continue to endure.
This is the 100th anniversary of Sheets’ birth (1907-1989). Sheets’ ties to the L.A. County Fair are pivotal. He was director of the Fine Arts Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Fair from 1931 to 1956. The current art building opened in 1937 and Sheets was the driving force behind the exhibiting artists, and the pieces displayed. This time around Tony Sheets will be directing as his father’s life and work is highlighted. Janet Blake, an art historican who has been studying Sheets’ work since 1981 will curate the exhibit.
“Sharing my father’s diversity in art and design will open the eyes of so many to the amazing world of Millard Sheets as no other exhibition has been able to do,” Tony Sheets said. “There will also be an educational aspect to the show which will relate the man to the world around him, and to the world events which so greatly affected his life and his art.”
The exhibition will run concurrently with the L.A. County Fair, Sept. 7 – 30.
The exhibition is free with Fair admission and will feature a dynamic and interactive timeline journey from Sheets’ first entry in art school in 1925 to his last interview with Paul Karlstrom for the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in 1986. (Smithsonian Interview Transcript).
Sheets was a prolific artist, a keen business man and a heart-felt observer of our times. He covered World War II as an art correspondent for Life Magazine. He also traveled extensively, learning about and documenting the diverse cultures he encountered. His trips to Europe inspired him to draw the architecture. He created mosaics and murals and painted in oil, acrylic and watercolor. His artwork hung in the White House and he was head of the art department at Claremont’s Scripps