LOS ALTOS, CA (August 17, 2021) – In 1921, eight-year-old Anna Knapp Fitz moved with her family to an eight-acre farm in Los Altos. As an adult, when asked what life was like in those early days, “Annie,” as she was known, picked up her paintbrush to tell the story. This self-taught artist donated 212 of her paintings to Los Altos History Museum, who will draw from the collection for an exhibition titled “Annie Knapp Fitz Paints: A Legacy in Art,” on display Sept 9, 2021 – Feb 6, 2022.
Her varied works of art depict the changing landscape from agricultural to the birth of Silicon Valley and the events that were major turning points, such as the coming of the railroad, based on historic photographs. Many of her portraits and bust sculptures capture the likenesses of people who left their mark in this area.
“Annie’s paintings tell a rich story of the community and the land,” said Eleanor Watanabe, Chair of the Museum’s Exhibits Committee. “You can’t help but be struck by the amazing change to the Valley as illustrated in her work.” The artist also painted her vision of the first inhabitants of this area.
This year marks the centennial of Anna Knapp Fitz’s arrival in Los Altos, motivating the Museum to mount the exhibition of her work. “School children who have attended our educational tours, and admirers of Anna Knapp Fitz, have been charmed by her art, learning about the past and what the future might hold,” Watanabe said. “This is an opportunity for them to see additional paintings, and enjoy favorites, such as the painting of Annie and her mother in the Tank House kitchen.”
The Museum will hold a series of free programs associated with the exhibition, including:
- “Adventures in Mural Painting” with local muralist Morgan Bricca, Thursday, Sept 23 at 7pm.
- “Making Time for Art” with artists Denise Howard and Doreen Cohen. Saturday, Oct 23 at 10am.
- “Arts Los Altos: Public Art and Placemaking” presented by Maddy McBirney and Karen Zucker. Thursday, Nov 4 at 7pm.
Registration is required for all programs through the Museum’s website at losaltoshistory.org/AnniePaints.
Los Altos History Museum began in 1977 with the opening of the J. Gilbert Smith House historic farmhouse, built in 1905. In 2001, the Los Altos History Museum opened its modern building next door, which houses the Museum’s collections, permanent and changing exhibits, store and administrative offices. The Museum and its grounds are available for rent during evenings and weekends. Its collections are owned by the City of Los Altos and are managed by an independent nonprofit organization, whose staff and volunteers are responsible for all programs and operations.
The Museum is open Thursday through Sunday, from noon-4pm. Admission is free. Tours of the J. Gilbert Smith House are available during open hours subject to docent availability. The gardens, outdoor agricultural exhibits and picnic area are accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, visit: losaltoshistory.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.