Congratulatory calls and emails are flowing to the Crocker Art Museum as the art world learns that collector Roy Rose will give the museum 40 works by his great-uncle, painter Guy Rose.
"He's considered the No. 1 top California Impressionist painter," said Scot Levitt, director of fine arts at Bonhams auction house in San Francisco. "That's not a vague interpretation. Pretty much everyone has put him at the top of the list."
The Crocker is showing six Rose paintings, and it has agreed not to discuss value. In a quick record search, Bonhams found that Rose works had auctioned for $200,000, $398,000 and $628,000 in recent years, but Levitt noted that some Roses have sold for more than $1 million and that the Crocker's Roses will likely be a destination collection.
Crocker director Lial Jones noted: "It makes sense that if you are serious about California art, you become serious about the Crocker."
Roy Rose's gift is generous, but let's also credit C.K. McClatchy High School graduates Ted and Melza Barr, classes of 1949 and 1951, respectively. The couple spent millions of their fortune, made in Houston's oil industry, to build the Crocker's collection and reputation for works from the Gilded Age of Impressionism. The Barrs witnessed how the arts helped to spur investment and bring dynamic people to Houston.
Tears and treatment
Sales plummeted at the tiny Cafe Soleil in downtown's Cesar Chavez Park when the economic downturn led to furloughs of government workers, owners George and Nicole Ix said.
The couple mistakenly thought they had weathered the worst by cutting produce delivery and opting to clean their own windows. Nicole also baked cookies instead of buying them, though the taste of her treats had diners convinced this was an upgrade. They also let one of their seven employees go.
Finally, like many other mom-and-pops, the Ixes dropped their health insurance.
Perhaps you have an inkling that the worst comes now. You can bail out; 45-year-old Nicole Ix can't. Her diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer came after Christmas.
"They couldn't operate because my liver can't handle the surgery," Nicole said. "I have to wait until the chemo hopefully shrinks the tumor."
Her voice is matter-of-fact as she talks about her condition and the challenges of keeping the cafe running. Tears don't come until she describes signing up for Medi-Cal: "It's humiliating. I try to hide my card (from other patients) every time staff says, 'Can I see your medical card?' "
Medical expenses are covered, but the Ixes are struggling to make ends meet on $2,000 a month. Their many customers have slowly heard of her illness, and they have responded by setting up an account: Friends of Nicole, 1718 Seventh St., Sacramento, CA 95811. Despite her woes, Nicole takes home-baked treats for staff and other patients in the unit where she gets chemo.
Dan Burden spent 345 days last year on the road, bringing order to streets everywhere from Abu Dhabi to Hawaii.
His peers in civic planning have described him as one of the most significant urban designers in history, so it wasn't surprising to hear Maureen Pascoe, the capital improvement manager for the City of West Sacramento, gasp as if she'd won an Oscar when she heard Burden's assessment of Tower Bridge Gateway and West Capitol Avenue.
Burden said: "I hereby declare this one of the best-designed streets in America."
The international road warrior made the statement as he conferred with Sacramento residents on Vision Broadway, a project aimed at reviving Broadway's walkability.
Caught at home in Port Townsend, Wash., Burden spoke about the West Sacramento enhancements: "It just has a sense of enclosure to it with the trees that have been planted, the quality of the median and the fact that they've contained the width of the road to a nice size and scale all of which makes it a very pleasant place to be as a pedestrian. Once we corral a street and make it a place for human habitat, boy, does it ever bring investment."
Pascoe said the city has seen investment by a hotelier, bank and others since the $21 million makeover. At the same time, visual cues have slowed traffic, so it's a safe, pleasant walk over the Tower Bridge and maybe to the Crocker.
The Ixes' Cafe Soleil is one of many small businesses that dropped health coverage in the last five years. The figures below show percentages of California companies with three to nine employees offering health coverage: