- October 1, 2014
The below article appeared in Laguna Beach Art Magazine, Spring 2015.
From the Collection of Faye and Wayne Baglin
Written by Debra Leitner
Photos by Tom Lamb
“Cradled between mountains and the sea, Laguna offers (us) a sense of place quite unique to California,” Wayne and Faye Baglin remarked in a recent interview.
Residents since 1969, the Baglins reside in a charming three-storied Laguna home brimming with art on every floor … with additional art in storage. Upon climbing the stairs and walking through the welcoming, open doorway, you immediately feel at ease. Sunlight pours through the windows, a breeze gently billows the curtains and the distant sound of the beach drifts in through the windows. The Baglins are youthful, tan, gracious and relaxed. Their love of Laguna, the ocean and the beach extends to their art collection, and the warmth of their personalities is reflected in the warmth of their art. Seascapes and landscapes dominate, with still lifes, figuratives, abstracts and whimsies rounding out the collection.
The first artwork Faye and Wayne purchased together was from a small gallery in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1966, the year they were married. Painted by Colette Pope Heldner (1902-1990), the scene reminded them of the view from the porch of their first home. That is how the Baglins started collecting and how they continue to collect today. They choose art that feels familiar and that speaks to them.
One of their newer acquisitions is by local artist April Raber. The two had admired April’s work for years, but it took a particular painterly, impressionist seascape to spark a deep connection. The painting’s soft pink, purple and blue palette and its ethereal quality spoke to them. The Baglins bought Raber’s painting at a juried Laguna Plein Air Painters Association exhibit and were delighted when the judges awarded Raber first prize at the end of the evening. Faye smiles and explains, “Collectors can respect and take pleasure in an artist’s work, but they are just not ready to buy. However, the day will come.”
Many of the scenes and stories depicted in the Baglins’ collection have a Laguna Beach connection. Drying Nets, a drawing of a Breton scene by early twentieth century Laguna artist Edgar Payne, is the most historically significant work they own.
Self-taught painter and local surfing legend Patrick Tobin was a dear friend of the Baglins, and also shows up in their collection. With their loose brush strokes, deep colors and impasto application, his plein air California and Mexican scenes are highly prized. Taken from our world too soon, Tobin is greatly missed by all who knew him.
Another artist in the Baglins’ collection is Jacquie Moffett. A winner of numerous awards, she has been exhibiting at the Laguna Art Fair for 46 years and is collected throughout the United States. Moffett studied under famed water colorist Roger Armstrong, several of whose paintings the Baglins own, as did Donald Storm Case, a close friend and another artist represented in their collection.
Though Wayne owns an independent real estate business in Laguna, he and Faye spend much of their time in public service. As mayor of Laguna Beach for three terms and a city council member for another three, Wayne feels a strong commitment to his community. A supporter of the Festival of the Arts since 1981, he is a board member and past president. He is also chair of the Laguna Beach Alliance for the Arts and has served on the Laguna Canyon Foundation board. Along with her many social activities, Faye is chair of CAP, the Community Art Project, a 16-year-old public nonprofit organization dedicated to art education and the acquisition of public art for the city of Laguna Beach.
The Baglins often buy art at charity events, art festivals and galleries. Wayne explains, “When we enter a gallery, we go separate ways. After we’ve studied the artwork, we will ask each other if there was anything of interest. We both must love it, or we won’t buy it.” They rarely miss a Thursday Art Walk in Laguna, and believe that art walks are an excellent way to get to know the artists and galleries.
A wry and playful Sandra Jones Campbell dinner scene in the Baglins’ dining room elicits a chuckle from all who view it—as does her Cindy painting. Wayne explains that everyone who lives in Laguna Beach is familiar with Cindy. He gently describes her as an eccentric local with a penchant for dressing in costumes and carrying colorful umbrellas. (The community’s caring residents and police actually keep watch over their local color.) Hanging on the same wall is one of Erika Oller’s whimsical, humorous watercolors—a gift to Faye from Wayne.
Hanging in the master bath is Android at Bath by Jerry Wayne Downs, a surrealist painting depicting an android sitting on a chair, wiping his foot; on the floor next to him is a basin and WD-40 container. The droid’s pose is a take on Vermeer. Downs joined the animation department of Walt Disney Studios in 1956, and worked on productions such as Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, The Sword and the Stone and The Jungle Book, after which he left Disney in 1967 to pursue a fine art career.
Other fine artists in the Baglins’ collection include Robin Hall, Lynn Welker, Tom Swimm, Candice Eisenfeld, Regina Jacobson, Mark Lunde, Steve Bjorkman, Sally Storch, Michael Logan, Gerald Schwartz, and Stacy and Jacqueline Kamin. Also represented are Suzi Chauvel (whose works on stainless remind Faye of the freedom to travel and how we wish to retain that feeling when we return home from vacation), Vanessa Rothe, Jill Cooper, Bill DeBilzan (his painting of two people in paradise reminded them of how they feel living in Laguna Beach), John Eagle, James Galindo, Haight and Cunningham, Jeff Kruger, Jacobus Baas, Greg LaRock, Amanda Erlinger, Scott Moore, and Kathy Jones. The collection also includes artists from Haiti, Mexico and Russia.
Though it can be difficult to display a large collection, the Baglins have hung their art masterfully. Nothing feels cluttered, and the arrangement adds continuity while giving attention to each piece of artwork. The pair say that they cannot imagine living without their art. “Surrounding ourselves with art reminds us of the beauty in nature and in life,” Faye states. She adds that their life has also been enriched by the people—artists, art lovers, and collectors—that the collection has brought into their lives.
Wayne and Faye remember how they enjoyed the art displayed at the Biltmore when they were very young and dating. One artist in particular, Robert Watson, impressed them. They didn’t have means to purchase any of his works at that time, but 25 years later, as they were walking in Laguna, a small oil painting caught their eye. They recognized Watson’s style immediately and promptly added the painting to their collection.
When asked what advice they would like to share with novice collectors, Wayne urges them to buy what they love rather than as an investment. “Don’t be intimidated,” adds Faye. “Go to the festivals, go to galleries, go to museums. Read about the artists and talk to dealers and gallery personnel.” In other words, become acquainted with the artists. Whether you are a seasoned collector or a novice, the Baglins are certain you will enjoy Laguna Beach’s art community.