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Exceptional 1930 Art Deco pictorial map of the East Bay.

Place/Date: Berkeley / 1930
$1,200.
Title: A map of Berkeley, Oakland & Alameda
Technique
Chromolithograph
Dimensions
108 x 89 cm (42.5 x 35 in)
Identifier
NL-00433
Coloring
Original color
Condition Rating
VG

Description

Art Deco pictorial map of Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda with vignettes of important buildings and attractions. The decorative borders have inset scenes of historical events supported by sea horses, with four headwinds. Other decorations include the title cartouche, galleons, and sea monsters.

This vibrantly-colored map of Alameda County includes the artist’s rendition of early histories of the environs, with special reference to the flora & fauna of the region.

In Names on the Land, George Stewart writes that “the distinctive quality of California’s later naming history was its self-consciousness,” and illustrates this point with the story of Berkeley. In 1864, a site was chosen and forty acres purchased for a new college. A committee was appointed to find a name for the town, but no agreement could be reached. Searching for the perfect name, over a year and a half passed.

Frederick Law Olmsted, the famous landscape architect, proposed Peralta, the name of the original property owner. Peralta seemed perfect, even as a possible Latin motto for the university: Per Alta (“through the high things”).

And yet, even Peralta was passed over. A few days later, the trustees gathered on site for an informal meeting. Stewart relates that beneath a high sun on a clear spring day, watching out-bound ships cross the magnificent San Francisco Bay and out the Golden Gate, someone quoted George Berkeley: “Westward the course of empire takes its way.”

Thus a top frame box on our map cites the closing lines of George Berkeley’s Verses on the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America: ‘Westward the course of empire takes its way; The first four Acts already past, A fifth shall close the Drama with the day; Time’s noblest offspring is the last.’

According to an inscription, Baltekal-Goodman drew this map in collaboration with Professor Neuhaus, which suggests that he was a student in the Department of Art at the University of California in Berkeley.

Condition Description

Excellent, bright image on strong linen backing - perfect for framing.

References

Rumsey 8127.000. Stewart, George R. Names on the Land: a historical account of place-names in the United States. New York: 1946, p. 346-8.

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