Posted on Monday, August 4, 2014 by Laura Braun
Visionary arts patrons Gordon and Jane Herr bought the 160-acre Walker Ranch above Guerneville in 1939 with the idea of establishing a Bauhaus-inspired art colony that would, as they said, be a “sustainable sanctuary for artists away from a world gone amok.” Two years earlier they had met Wildenhain and her husband, Frans, on a recruiting trip. As things heated up in 1940, Wildenhain immigrated, leaving behind Frans, who was forced into the German Army. She taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then made her way to what would be called Pond Farm. There, from 1949 to 1952 she headed the Pond Farm Community of Artists. Other highly-regarded artist/teachers included metal workers Viktor Ries and textile designer Trude Guermonprez.