John Steinbeck and the Visual Arts in Monterey County

Video: John Steinbeck and Monterey County’s Visual Arts

John Steinbeck numbered artists among his friends all of his life. In this video on Steinbeck and the visual arts in California by the Monterey History and Art Association and Museum of Monterey, I tried to cover some of the talented painters who were important to John Steinbeck during his years in Pacific Grove and Monterey in the 1930s. Many of these artists were among the group that gathered around Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts, the great marine biologist, and Ricketts’ Pacific Biological Laboratory (and home) on Monterey’s Cannery Row. Several of them became major Steinbeck portraitists. Why did John Steinbeck have so many artist friends in Monterey County? Well, in many ways they spoke the same language, Steinbeck being a great literary landscapist who was attracted to the visual arts. But I think, also, that the times were dangerous for Steinbeck, and artists were people he could not only feel comfortable with, but safe. This video is part of a Museum of Monterey series called The 100-Story Project initiated by Mark D. Baer. The 100-Story Project captured much of Monterey County’s colorful history and so, unavoidably, some of John Steinbeck’s as well.

Steve Hauk About Steve Hauk

Steve Hauk is a playwright, short story writer, and art expert in Pacific Grove, California. Co-curator of This Side of Eden—Images of Steinbeck's California, the inaugural art exhibition at the National Steinbeck Center, he has written on John Steinbeck for Steinbeck Review and is the author of two CINE Golden Eagle award-winning PBS-telecast documentaries narrated by Jack Lemmon, Time Captured in Paintings: The Monterey Legacy and The Roots of California Photography: The Monterey Legacy. His plays include Fortune's Way, or Notes on Art for Catholics (and Others)The Floating Hat, Reflections of an American Mossad, A Mild Concussion, and The Cottages, Scenes from Lives Interrupted. Steinbeck: The Untold Stories, a book of fictional stories published by and based on Steinbeck's life, is available through Amazon and at selected bookstores..


  1. larry D miller says:

    Steve. I can’t find your phone number, but I wanted to ask you if you remember 50 years ago tomorrow when we watched the first super bowl from your house in Los Angeles after putting an antenna on our roof at the apartment building? I almost killed myself crawling onto your roof..If you get this, call me at 985-516-2431 Id love to see you guys again Larry Miller 985 516 2431


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