Palmer D. French

  • Ancient Egyptian Art at the Lowie Museum

    DURING THE HUNDRED YEARS between the acquisitions gathered by Napoleon’s expeditions in 1799 (and ceded to the British after the French defeat at Alexandria in 1801) and the University of California’s excavations at Gizeh in 1899, Egyptian archaeology had been almost exclusively a European pursuit, and except for the Cairo Museum after 1858, the principal, or at any rate ultimate, beneficiaries of both private and institutionally sponsored excavation had been the great national museums of Europe, with the British Museum, the Louvre and the Berlin Museum definitely in the lead.

    It is to Auguste

  • Jugendstile Expressionism in German Posters

    DR. HERSCHEL B. CHIPP, WHO ORGANIZED the University of California’s 1963 exhibition of works by Schiele, Klimt and Kokoschka under the title “Viennese Expressionism, 1910–1924,” has come up with another outstanding success in “Jugendstil and Expressionism,” an exhibition of the poster art of Germany and Austria from 1893 to 1934.

    Flyers, placards and playbills, in which small illustrative vignettes, trade symbols or monograms serve as subordinate embellishments to printed or lettered announcements and advertising tracts, were already commonplace by the last quarter of the 16th century. However,

  • Fabergé: the High Art of Luxury

    TO SURVEY ANY COMPREHENSIVE selection of the decorative objects produced by the House of Fabergé between 1870 and 1915 is to become enraptured with a veritable wonderland of elfin-miniature creations of dazzling brilliance and opulence. Here are to be found, in lavish profusion, varicolored alloys of gold, as well as precious and semi-precious gems combined with enamels and glazes in a facile diversity of techniques to produce a rich spectrum of subtle translucent colors.

    The House of Fabergé was founded at St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1842 by Gustav Fabergé, and had acquired only a modest prestige

  • San Francisco

    A comprehensive exhibition of sculptures and drawings by Gaston Lachaise (1882–1935), which is scheduled to tour some fifteen small museums and college campus galleries over the next two and a half years under the management of the Felix Landau Gallery of Los Angeles and the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery of New York as agents for “The Lachaise Foundation,” began its tour at the San Francisco Museum of Art last October.

    In 1906 at the age of 24, Lachaise, a native of France, came to America where he spent the remainder of his life, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1917. The era between his arrival here and

  • San Francisco

    An engaging selection of polymer-media painted wall plaques by James W. McManus recently exhibited at the Ala Gallery (Arlene Lind Associates) resembled large, flat, ingeniously conceived cutouts, while their surfaces provided the grounds for dynamic geometric designs in automobile paints and lacquers, exploiting in novel and inventive ways tensions generated by optical counterpoint with the complex edge-shapes or two-dimensional “silhouettes” of the plaques. Within the simple limitations of this plaque format, McManus demonstrates keen resourcefulness. In much more than the edge-pattern or

  • Arlo Acton

    Early last fall the Hansen Gallery presented a retrospective exhibition of work by the San Francisco sculptor Arlo Acton. That show contained no immediately recent work and was, in bulk, comprised of those large, somewhat neo-Dadaist, found-object assemblage-constructions (predominantly of wood) which occupied Acton during the early sixties (see Artforum, Vol. III, No. 1), most of which have received sufficiently frequent local exposure over the past few years to have become quite familiar to the majority of Bay Area gallery-goers and museum habitués.

    Recently, the Hansen Gallery staged the second

  • Charles Mattox

    Kinetic showmanship with some buffoonery also held sway at the Quay Gallery, which featured a veritable carnival of bright colored, noisy devices contrived by Charles Mattox. In contrast, however, to Acton’s vaudeville slapstick and burlesque double entendres, the Mattox exhibits were all good clean fun for the kiddies, and the show as a whole exuded the seasonally appropriate atmosphere of a novelty toy shop before Christmas: here was Mattox’s kinetic wizardry in its most jovial and Harlequinesque aspects, together with a few elaborate gadgets resembling the more imaginative sort of stage props

  • William Dubin

    The Dilexi Gallery sustained the predilection for ornamental crafts which has characterized its current season in an exhibition of small wood carvings by William Dubin whose sculptures are for the most part somewhat decorative essays in organic freeform executed in highly polished exotic hardwoods.

    Palmer D. French

  • Wesley Chamberlain, Richard Graf and Robert Bechtle

    Mr. Chamberlain’s representational lithographs, such as Still Life for a Catholic Vintner and Sunday’s Ladies, comprise a tour de force of the draftsmanship and technical virtuosity employed with more range and imagination in his intaglio collages and tusche drawings. In Tuttle Flowers and in the Morning Objects series one finds sensitive explorations of “tonal” and morphodynamic space.

    Mr. Graf, turning to the rich heritage of North European Expressionism, essays lithographs and drawings evoking erotic fantasies and eerie, dreamlike architectural interiors, and demonstrating a consummate grasp

  • Williamson Mayo and Francis de Erdely

    In Mr. Mayo’s oil paintings a torrid and colorful treatment of Tahitian landscape and people veers from a Folk-Primitivism (that is more West Indian than Polynesian) in such statements as Three Tahitian Churches to a Fauvist handling of landscape rhythms and colors in “Glade Near Papete,” and then careens into a Gauguinesque exposition of figurative themes. To all of these assimilations, however, Mr. Mayo adds an individual transformation derived, according to the gallery statement, from his virtuosity and experience as “one of the best living poster artists.”

    Co-featured is a small selection of

  • “New Art and Design of Sweden”

    A large part of this exhibition takes on the character of a decorators’ show, participated in by various importers, and promotive of Swedish housewares, furniture, office equipment and items of industrial design—all of superb quality and attractively elegant.

    On the less utilitarian side, a hollow, quadrilateral glass shaft corrugated with polyhedroid configurations, designed by Sven Palmquist, achieves a scintillating prismatic beauty, and an abstract tapestry by Alice Lund exploits textures and luminosities of color uniquely within the domain of fabric surfaces and textile dyes.

    The Fine Arts

  • “The Square Drawing”

    While the San Francisco Art Institute would appear all too willing to accelerate confusion in the nomenclature of Art by its elastic definition of the word “drawing,” the simple and specific limitations it imposed upon works to be submitted for this juried exhibition stimulated some of the most crisply economical and highly individual statements in black, white and grey that one has seen locally for some time. Jacques Fabert’s Finlandaise (oil) is a singularly powerful figure study, heroic in its mannerism but without bravura affectation or Expressionist cliche. Sonya Rapoport’s abstract Dream

  • Robert S. Neuman

    Opening at the Wallis Gallery as this goes to press was the first West Coast exhibition since 1954 of work by the Harvard-based Robert S. Neuman. Mr. Neuman’s paintings in oil on linen of four and five years ago present a survival of Abstract Expressionism, intellectualized, tempered and suffused with a mellow, no-doubt Harvard bred, academicism; some more recent mixed media drawings (1966–67) have, however, engaging vitality. Crisply stated geometric shapes and astringent linearities are skillfully manipulated in two series entitled, respectively, Mirage Studies and Voyage Drawings. In these

  • San Francisco’s Summer Season

    Drawings from various eras provided the dominant theme of featured museum exhibitions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area during the summer season, with the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco and the University of California’s Berkeley campus concurrently vying for the spotlight in presenting extensive major exhibitions of Old Master Drawings, while the summer schedule at the San Francisco Museum of Art seemed to follow suit in a preponderance of shows dealing with modern graphic techniques, as well as with contemporary extensions and revivals of historic master

  • James Grant and James Melchert

    The syncopated plastic rhythms, sharp spatial transitions, and “dissonantly” juxtaposed shapes and color contrasts that so strongly characterized Mr. Grant’s collage-paintings, exhibited a year ago at the De Young Museum, are nowhere to be found in his current show. He has, to be sure, retained a few stylistic mannerisms from his earlier work, but the vitality has considerably waned. Most of the recent work here shown essays related colors in like tonal values; color masses and linear configurations are distributed in such a way that each work is a study in composed static equilibrium and tonal

  • Fletcher Benton and John Ihle

    Mr. Benton’s “Kinetic Paintings” are sophisticated mobile geometric montages in the crisply economical symmetries and black, white, and primary color palette of the Hard Edge school. In a modern spirit Mr. Benton has turned to the mechanical principles underlying the famous automata of the great 17th and 18th cen­tury horologists, executing colorful compositions on a metal plaque or “face” equipped with various sliding bars, squares and panels, the synchronized movements of which are predetermined by an essentially “clockwork” type of mechanism encased behind the plaque. Technologically the only

  • Robert Watson and Giancarlo Erizzo

    Nothing is inherent­ly wrong with producing a series of variations on a theme: one need only mention Degas’ ballet dancers, Monet’s variations on the Rouen facade, or the inventive and exciting explorations of limited palette and restricted geometry so challenging to those facile in ab­stract idioms. Mr. Watson’s pretentious inanities, however, can hardly be termed “variations.” Two themes prevail in this showing: both are in the same “key,” and each is subjected to insignificantly variant repetitions-always in the same tonality, and in a tedious drone of spirit­less and pedestrian syntactical

  • Art Holman and Ruth Asawa

    The graphic work of Mr. Holman here exhibited, in which the pastel crayon predominates, falls into three chronologically sequential phases. The exhibits are untitled and may be identified only by dates of composition. The earliest phase (1959) may be desig­nated as the “color-fabric” phase, in which, but for a narrow margin, the en­tire rectangle of paper presents an ho­mogenous, hazy surface of some basic hue, through which, like fibers in a tweed swatch, miniscule threads and points of various colors are more or less uniformly distributed; the “lithoid” phase (1960–61) explores intersecting

  • Hugh Curtis, Paul Pernish, Robert Brotherton, and Joe Clark

    Mr. Curtis and Mr. Per­nish are apparently sympathetic with one another’s methods and have, in fact, collaborated on one painting in this exhibit. The vernacular of their idioms aligns them with the so-called “Pop Art” movement. Mr. Curtis’ dominant theme is the motorcyclist. The typical mode of treatment consists in goggles, helmets, moustaches and prim­itive cartoon-physiognomies stated as black geometries against white, ellip­toid, “face-blank” cartouches which are defined as negative space, “cut,” as it were, from flat, massive “blocks” of vio­lent red or yellow on billboard-size can­vases.

  • Group Show

    Fear that a policy of artistic commitment will “narrow the market” is reflected in the average “unlimited” fare of many little pantapoloia of art, but never more de­pressingly than in the off-season clut­tering of walls with the dregs of the bins. One wearies of group shows that have no theme, that present neither a sequence in the evolution of a method nor a coherent essay in significantly juxtaposed parallels or contrasts, but that seem merely an attempt to display a “little of something” for every con­ceivable taste (including the most ba­nal) that might be found in a random sampling of