Two Polish artists—the renowned actress Helena Modjeska and the famous composer and pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski—were drawn to California in the 1870s and 1910s respectively. Their bond with the California landscape in Modjeska’s ranch, El Refugio, near Santa Ana, and Paderewski’s Rancho San Ignacio, near Paso Robles, offered them retreats from their performance tours, restored their health, and gave them a sense of belonging. In turn, both transformed the landscape of the imaginary as they developed productive agriculture.
Modjeska, Paderewski, and the California Landscape
Kenneth H. Marcus is Professor of History at the University of La Verne. He holds a B.A. in history from UC Berkeley; an MBA from Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris, France; and a Ph.D. in history from Cambridge University, UK. He has published three books, most recently Schoenberg and Hollywood Modernism (Cambridge University Press, 2016) as well as over fifty articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and book reviews on subjects ranging from California cultural history to music patronage in early modern Germany. Among his media projects is a CD, Some American Music, featuring works by Scott Joplin, George Gershwin, Woody Guthrie, and Kenneth Marcus, for which he performed on piano and guitar.
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Kenneth H. Marcus; Modjeska, Paderewski, and the California Landscape. Southern California Quarterly 1 February 2018; 100 (1): 69–105. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/scq.2018.100.1.69
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