Millard Sheets in Westways

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Above, the former Home Savings branch at Sunset and Vine, Hollywood, shot during a recent visit.

In its September issue, Westways ran a nice piece on the Home Savings bank branches designed by Millard Sheets. Who was Sheets? He was born in Pomona, later lived in Claremont, taught at Scripps College, ran the Fine Arts Exhibition at the L.A. County Fair and, as the story points out, was part of the “California school” of artists who painted native subjects in the ’30s and ’40s. You can read it here.

On a related note, my Sunday column is about Sheets’ son, Tony, and his stewardship of the fair’s Millard Sheets Center for the Arts and of his father’s legacy.

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  • Gavin

    Without going to Sunset and Vine, one can also admire one of Sheets’ works—locally—at Foothill and Indian Hill. The artwork is on the exterior of a US Bank branch (formerly, PFF Bank & Trust).

    [Or visit the Chase branch at 2nd and Garey, Pomona, as mentioned in the Westways piece. And, if memory serves, the bank at Euclid and Foothill in Upland, northwest corner. — DA]

  • Bob House

    And the ophthalmologist’s office at 655 E. Foothill in Claremont — Sheets’ former studio.

  • Tad Decker


    Yes, David is right about one of Sheets’ murals being inside the Chase bank in Upland at Foothill and Euclid. In addition, there are large interior murals in the bank you mentioned in Claremont, as well as inside the Chase bank on Second and Garey (the Westways article referenced the mosaic on the exterior, facing Garey).

    Another large Sheets mural is currently inaccessible inside the former PFF Bank & Trust at Garey and Center, but if David Armstrong follows through with his plan to move AMOCA (the American Museum of Ceramic Art) to this building, it will again be available for all to admire.

    Don’t forget, too, that the fountains and planters of the downtown Pomona Mall are Sheets’ work as well, and are designated as historic landmarks.

    The only other local significant Sheets work of which I am aware was the mural gracing the rear wall of the old Buffums’ Palomares Room restaurant, which I understand is presently in storage.

    Millard Sheets certainly left a legacy in his backyard.

    [True dat. — DA]

  • Gavin

    Dont leave out one other Sheets mural on the Garrison Theater portico at Scripps.

    Actually, Bob House tried to call our attention to a couple of these locations…  two years ago. []

    Sheets studio/atelier, as Bob referenced, is now Claremont Eye Associates. According to aerial photos, there are two small buildings at that address. Even as an eye doctors office, maybe you can still see something special by Sheets there?

    Anyone knows?

    [The exterior has some arty-looking doodads affixed that I’ve assumed were by Sheets. (Google Streetview may show that.) I’ve heard the walkway used to be nice, and may still be. — DA]

  • Bob House

    Also on the Pomona Mall is a fountain with a dolphin by sculptor, and another Claremont/Padua resident, Betty Davenport Ford. She studied (at Scripps) and worked with Sheets and has a number of her sculptures in the Sheets Center at the Fair. In the early 50s she came to my Claremont elementary school (Go Oakmont!) with a sculpture-in-progress and showed us how she worked.

    [Actually, the dolphin is by John Svenson, although Betty did do a couple of other pieces on the mall. According to Charles Phoenix’s book, Sheets produced the fountain mosaic at 2nd and Locust, which is still there. The man is growing more prolific by the hour! — DA]

  • Bob House

    David thanks for the correction. I see now that the BDF fountain is at the other end of the Mall. Great database of “Art in Public Places” for southern California, with many Pomona, Claremont and other Inland Empire city entries here:

  • We were digging around about a month ago at the library and found an informative article from the ol’ Prog about artwork at the Pomona Mall. Summarizing from the 9/29/62 P14 section 1 of the Progress Bulletin, the cheat-sheet version is as follows:

    The mosaic of Pomona at mall and Gordon St. was done by Jean and Arthur Ames. Ceramic Pigeons by B. D. Ford underneath it.

    Sea urchin at Thomas St. pool done by Albert Stewart

    Gazelle also by B. D. Ford at south side of Mall/Gordon

    Porpoise at south pool on Locust by John Svenson

    A heron fountain at Buffums entrance also by Albert Stewart

    Mosaic by Millard Sheets on north side of Locust

    [Thanks, Allan. Btw, the gazelle, long visible in the lobby at City Hall, was moved recently to the lobby of the Council Chambers. I don’t know why. — DA]

  • Gavin

    Wondering what traces of a former atelier might still remain, I sojourned to the location and took a few snaps of the artwork that can be seen at the premises today.   Here is a photo album, if it’s of interest.  This may benefit those who recognize Millard Sheets’ work but have not yet visited where he summoned his creative muses. The eye doctor’s office maintains a serene landscape, and a marble slab marking “Millard Sheets Designs Inc” can still be seen.

  • me

    It looks like the remodeling has begun at the Pomona location off of Garey. From what i have heard not much care is been taken for Millard’s work by the contractors. What a shame! David it may be worth a visit.

  • Glad to see the interested and detailed discussion of the Sheets Studio artwork here.

    I have been featuring different pieces of the work, and I plan to produce a definitive list/map again soon; check out some further sites at: