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View, California, San Diego, Downtown, Drawings by Eric Poulson, c. 1958-73


Eric Poulson
[Hotel Senator and Karl’s Glass Co.]
[Downtown Street Corner]
[Public Library, San Diego]
[Fountain and Caliente]
[Hotel Horton]
[Mason Hotel and Corner Room]
[Downtown Street, Pop’s Navy Store]
[First Presbyterian Church]
[Downtown Street, Music Store]
[Downtown Street, Money to Loan]
[Fountain and Union Tribune Building]
[Wm. Penn Hotel]
[Downtown Street Corner]

American: c. 1958-1973
Charcoal and conté crayon on paper and illustration board
Signed lower right “Eric Poulson”; some titled
15 x 11 inches average overall, approximate
$200 each

Various drawings are from a large collection of drawings in our inventory by Eric Poulson depicting landscape and city scenes in San Diego, California, and the surrounding area.The particular ones shown here are street scenes and buildings, businesses and hotels of the downtown commercial district.  The First Presbyterian Church building was dedicated in 1914, and is located on Date Street, a few blocks from Balboa Park.  There are three views of the same fountain in a park with different backdrops, one of which includes the Union Tribune building.  (Note: the artist did not give titles to these particular drawings.)

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As a group, these drawings show a cross-section of San Diego as it appeared about half a century ago, from the historic and picturesque, to the commercial and modern.  They were perhaps part of a large commission from a business or civic organization, possibly the Chamber of Commerce, whose Old San Diego building is depicted in one of the drawings, or possibly drawn for a publication such as the San Diego Evening Tribune, where he was a staff artist. As drawings, they have an informal sketchbook quality, at the same time accurately capturing a sense of place and the details of landscape and architecture. Indeed, extant examples of more finished watercolors of these subjects are known, in the collection of the artist.

Eric Poulson began his career as an artist in his native Montreal, Quebec, in Canada. He moved to San Diego in 1958, where for 15 years he was the staff artist for the San Diego Evening Tribune. In that capacity, he contributed dozens of drawings, including portraits of politicians, visiting heads of state, and sports celebrities. He kept a scrapbook of letters of appreciation from his subjects, including a letter from former President Richard Nixon thanking him for a sketch of First Lady Patricia Nixon.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall toning, wear, soiling associated with illustration art.  Pencil margin lines in many of the works, as issued.


Albert, Janice.  “Helen Hunt Jackson.” California Authors.  20 April 2004. (27 October 2004).

Anderson, Dorothy. “Letters to the Editor: Cove closing a sign of the times.”  16 January 2003.  La Jolla Light.

“Cabrillo.” National Park Service. (25 October 2004).

Heath, Lynda. “Re: Drawings by Eric Poulson.” E-mail. 11 July 2006.

“Old Town State Historic Park.” San Diego Historical Society. (25 October 2004).

Shupe, Gordon.  “A Brief History of the First Presbyterian Church, San Diego, California.” First Presbyterian Church. (27 October 2004).

Additional information


20th Century