What's New? Recent Acquisitions from Permanent Collection

Sample some of the most recently acquired collection pieces of contemporary art and regional history.

Exhibited from December 10, 2005- January 22, 2006

This exhibition samples some of our most recently acquired collection pieces of contemporary art and regional history. These artworks and artifacts reinforce the Museum’s vision as a place in which exhibitions and programs stimulate conversation and promote further exploration. Included are works by Nathan Oliveira, Eleen Auvil, David Hockney, Jack Zajac. Regional historical artifacts on view include inventor Larry Ponza’s Baseball Pitching Machine and selections from the Museum’s extensive textile collection.

The Museum has acquired two lithographs from Nathan Oliveira titled Figure, 1989 and Figure (Nathan’s Copy), 1989. A celebrated and long-standing member of the art community in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nathan Oliveira recently retired from a long teaching career at Stanford University. As an artist, he came into national prominence in 1959 when he was included in the New York Museum of Modern Art’s New Images of Man, the exhibition that heralded a new life for figurative art after a period of almost total dominance by Abstract Expressionism.

Eleen Auvil’s Large Torso, 1992 is yet another addition to the Museum’s permanent collection. Eleen Auvil, a local artist, has had an extensive career as an artist and teacher. Auvil has taught at Wayne State University, Flint Institute of Art, Chicago Art Institute and Cranbrook Academy. After sculpting three-dimensional forms for many years, she has expanded her work to encompass wall pieces made of copper, bronze and lead. She also creates abstract monotype prints. She is past President of the Board of Directors of the Carmel Art Association.

Lorenzo “Larry” J. Ponza Jr., the inventor of the baseball pitching machine, was born to Italian immigrant parents in 1918 and lived on Bean Creek Ranch in Scotts Valley. A graduate of Santa Cruz High in 1934, Larry excelled in the high school’s Machinist Trade class and went on to become a local machinist apprentice at the height of the Great Depression. To provide more batting practice for young baseball players, Larry invented the first portable on-field baseball pitching machine and pioneered its use into Little League in 1952. From then until 1992, Larry continued to develop and patent a number of different pitching machines, a batting practice device, and an automated batting cage with Athletic Training Equipment Company (“ATEC”). Larry lived in Santa Cruz for the rest of his life inventing the machines from his shop on Post Street. Larry died December 15, 2004.