San Francisco

Kenneth Potter, Melville Ray, Raymond Addison

Villa Montalvo

The California countryside abounds with elaborate old Spanish-style mansions of which San Simeon is only the ultimate fantastic extreme. Villa Montalvo, a more conservative venture, was the home of the late Senator Phelan and was bequeathed in 1930 as a “cultural center.” To judge from the academic watercolors of Kenneth Potter and the even more anemic pen and ink drawings by Melville Ray (some of which have been made into stationery) it might be ventured that the intention of the Montalvo Association is to preserve the arts as they were in California when the Senator was in his prime. This impression is heightened by some portrait cameos engraved by Raymond Addison. These cameos resemble photographic negatives and are precise recordings not only of the hair fashions but also of the immense bad taste to which the generation of the thirties was capable of succumbing.

The residence itself is extremely attractive for this period (early 20th century) and the grounds and forest are splendid.

Joanna C. Magloff