Los Angeles

“Recent Acquisitions”

Felix Landau Gallery

The selective eye of Felix Landau, which has characterized his gallery choices for some time, is again evident in the exhibition of Recent Acquisitions. To single out outstanding works is to admit honestly to personal choice; even so, exclusion is difficult. There is a Lachaise pencil drawing, Female Nude, and a Henry Moore, Study: Heads in water color and ink. Both have tremendous sculptural form, suggested by different means but equal­ly enthralling. There are two fine Ben Nicholson pieces, a 1953 oil and pencil on wood and an oil wash, September 1960 which echoes much of Ozenfant. There are a small Kline from 1959 in rich full color, a Miró––always fun, two Matta canvases that supplement each other––one illusive, one immediate, a Max Ernst that is a tour de force of miniature detail, a very nice Tanguy, a de Koening landscape of 1942 in large simple forms––yellow, pink and orange, and two delightful small Calder mo­biles, both from 1960. That isn’t all, but it does suggest the variety of experience offered. There are also three whose works are not so commonly seen who deserve mention. Perhaps the most ex­citing in the contemporary frame of reference is the young Italian, Enrico Baj. Born in Milan in 1924, Baj had painted since his teens but entered the official ranks of the artist only in 1951 after, like Burri, turning from a medical career. A second young painter is Paolo Buggiani. Born in Florence in 1933 but now living and exhibiting in Rome, Bug­giani belongs to the European Abstract Expressionists. His work is character­ized by a refined sensitivity to color, an affinity for Eastern space and a calligraphy that carries an Arabic reference. In contrast are the 1908 to 1914 works of Egon Schiele. Schiele was Viennese and closely associated with Gustav Klimt. Schiele reflects the in­fluence of the French innovations from van Gogh and Gauguin for which the “Secession” fought so bitterly. It is the frenzied line of van Gogh however, rather than his color, that creeps into Schiele’s Ships in the Harbor (1908). On the other hand, the intensities of Munch are felt in Landscape With Houses (1914). Nowhere is there a finer sense of the figure than in the 1912 watercolor, Girl with Blonde Hair. It is reassuring that we are now able to come to a new appreciation of the works of many of the earlier painters of the century such as Schiele whose creative efforts have too long been obscured by the frenetic pace of ex­perimentation which we have been un­dergoing.

––Constance Perkins