Channing Peake was a renowned California artist whose career was celebrated internationally. What few realize, however, is that Peake worked as an apprentice at Casa del Herrero from 1933-34. While only at the estate for a year, he left an indelible mark on the aesthetic. Peake’s important artistic contribution will be celebrated in the upcoming exhibition Channing Peake at Casa del Herrero and Highlights from the Santa Barbara County Collection on view at the Channing Peak Gallery in Santa Barbara. Coinciding with the gallery’s 30th anniversary, the exhibition will provide insight into the special nature of the internship and its influence on Peake throughout his artistic career.

“We are thrilled to collaborate on this exhibition and showcase Channing Peake’s work – it will be particularly meaningful as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the gallery,” said Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture Curator and exhibition co-curator Julia Rutherford Daly.

Channing Peake is credited with painting many images on the interior of the historic George Washington Smith house including the frieze in the book tower, panels in the first floor bathroom, a niche in the living room, and panels in the foyer. The exhibition will include photographs of the architectural paintings Peake completed during his brief year at the Casa in addition to original drawings never before available for public viewing. Peake’s work from the County Arts Commission’s permanent collection will also be displayed as an important component of the exhibition. Representing a span of 40 years, this body of work offers incredible insight into the range of materials the artist employed from the 1940s to the 1980s.

“As the viewer will see, the Casa images are whimsical – painted to reflect the artistic temperament of the original owner, George Fox Steedman,” said Casa Executive Director and exhibition co-curator Jessica Tade. “This exhibition highlights the uniqueness of the Casa internship while showing its role on Channing Peake’s artistic aesthetic later in life.”

Eager to study mural painting, Peake left Casa del Herrero for Mexico where he worked with the renowned muralist Diego Rivera. He would later describe his experience working with George Fox Steedman at the Casa by saying, “He was a silversmith, a retired wealthy man from St. Louis and he needed somebody to translate Gothic designs that he liked very much so that he could work in silver in them. That was an interesting experience in many ways. I mean it was really…a great education.”

Channing Peake at Casa del Herrero and Highlights from the County Collection will be on view at the Channing Peake Gallery located at 105 E. Anapamu Street from March 4 to September 2019.

Some information for this article courtesy of Robert Sweeney’s book Casa del Herrero – The Romance of Spanish Colonial published by Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., and