THE ABEL COLLECTION
The Abel Collection is an outstanding regional collection of work by Southern California artists of the second half of the 20th century. The collection was largely assembled by Mogens Abel prior to 1968, and was added to by his wife Shirley Abel (1927-2016), during and after their marriage. A master wood carver, The Abel Collection features pieces created by Mogens himself, who passed away in 1990, as well as works by many former exhibitors from the Festival of Arts. A number of pieces were acquired by barter, as was commonly done in the Festival community. Artists featured range from undiscovered talents to those who are well-known and widely collected.
The Abel's love for many types of art is evident. The collection offers a wide variety of media including original paintings, drawings, sculptures and various types of beautifully handcrafted vessels. Some of the prominent regional painters featured include Vincent Farrell (1928-2008), considered one of the Southern California Impressionists, his work gained popularity starting in the 1970's. Reaching beyond the coast, southwestern themes are found in original works by Phil Tyler (1914-1983) and Burt Procter (1901-1980).
Throughout the collection one can find pieces of Laguna Beach history, such as a sculpture by Brayton Laguna Pottery, one of the first California potteries. Brayton Laguna was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Durlin Brayton (1897-1951) from 1927 to 1968. Their factory was located on the 1400 block of Pacific Coast Highway, coincidentally the current home of Lang Fine Art.
Artwork by Mogens Abel
Mogens Abel, himself, is a part of the history of Laguna Beach. Born in 1915, he was a native of Denmark who moved to Laguna in 1937. Abel established a reputation as a master woodcarver, carrying on the family tradition of his father Carl. Mogen's brother Chris Abel went on to become a key architect in the city, followed in turn by his son Gregg Abel.
Mogens was commissioned by the City Council to sculpt wooden welcome signs for all three entrances to the city. He also carved the sign on Laguna Canyon Road that welcomes visitors at the entrance to the city's Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters. In addition to being an exhibitor at the Festival, Mogens served as the Grounds Manager for many years. He was good friends with the artists and would often barter for artwork. He was so well known and liked that it's said it would take him two hours to walk down Forest Avenue, stopping to talk to all of the locals. Mogens passed away at the age of 75. As stated in his obituary, "He literally carved a name for himself in this city."
The Abel Collection is proudly presented by Lang Fine Art on behalf of Shirley Abel's daughters, Nadine Bodeen and Susan Kish. Pieces from the collection are available for purchase online, and are also available for exhibition.
The Abel Collection includes the following artists, as well as many pieces that are unsigned: