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California Flora



California Flora: Fanny McClatchy Richardson

September 28, 2018 - June 2, 2019

Fanny McClatchy Richardson painted hundreds of watercolors of native California wildflowers and bequeathed to Santa Clara University close to 200 paintings from her life's work. This rotating selection of paintings celebrates just a portion of this collection.

Fanny McClatchy Richardson (1859-1948) was a California painter who spent much of her life devoted to capturing California flora in near botanical illustration accuracy. Through the medium of watercolor, Richardson painted hundreds of detailed depictions of native California wildflowers. The subjects of her paintings represent flora found in regions throughout the state and range from the iconic state flower, the California Golden Poppy, to lesser-known subjects such as the Buttonbush, to more ubiquitous plants such as the Dandelion.

Upon her passing, she bequeathed 190 of these paintings to Santa Clara University, which are now part of the de Saisset Museum's permanent collection. This exhibition highlights a portion of this remarkable collection through a rotating selection of works that changes each quarter:

Selection 1: On view September 28 - November 30, 2018

Selection 2: On view January 11 - March 15, 2019

Selection 3: On view April 2 - June 2, 2019  


Born Mary F. McClatchy, (and sometimes also referred to as Fannie), she was the daughter of James McClatchy, of The Sacramento Bee. Part of this pioneering and trailblazing family, Richardson herself proved eager to chart her own path. When James McClatchy passed, Fanny used the money from her inheritance to travel in Europe for several years in the mid to late 1880s, in part to study art. By 1891, she returned to California, continued to paint, became an early conservationist, and was involved in the women’s suffrage movement.



Images: Fanny McClatchy Richardson, Matilija Poppy (Romneya Coulteri). Santa Barbara, before 1948 (Left), Golden Poppy (Eschscholtzia Californica). Sacramento Valley, before 1948 (Right), watercolors. de Saisset Museum permanent collection, Santa Clara University, 1.529 and 1.535, Bequest of Fanny McClatchy Richardson.


Opening Reception

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Join us for the opening reception of California Flora: Fanny McClatchy Richardson.

At this time, we will also celebrate the opening of Radical Velocity: The Power of the Body to Move through Place and She Sang Me A Good Luck Song: The California Indian Photographs of Dugan Aguilar.

6:00-7:00 p.m. - Member Preview

7:00-8:30 p.m. - Public Opening