Los Angeles

“Award Winners, 1953–1962”

Fine Arts Patrons Gallery, Pavilion, Balboa

In the dedication to “The Taste of Angels” the late Francis H. Taylor writes “to the collectors of the past who in their innocence have risked their lives and fortunes to encourage art, and to the patrons and critics of the present, this book is dedicated.” His untimely death prevented him from writing the subsequent volume which would have brought him up to date. One wonders if he would have included the Home Savings and Loan Association in such a book. Lacking the distance of time, we may be too involved to give fair judgment. A fortune may have been risked, but more for a broad, quantitative selection of current works of art rather than single excellence. This loan show, assembled through the Otis Art Institute, has been singularly well hung. Each year’s jurors selections are grouped together for easy viewing. And the sculptures are all together in the center of the room. Jack Zajac’s lamb is easily the best piece in this group. His feeling for the material, the contained tension, the carefully worked out concave and convex areas make it one of the best of the animal series.

In 1953 the six jurors were all art critics and they picked an awful lot of pictures. Two serigraphs stand out in that group: Leo Mayerhofer’s “Mission at Midnight” which is as strong as a tempera painting, and Robert Brown’s “Regatta” which is based on an interesting pattern of geometric lines. In 1956, again five art critics picked good examples of well known artists, such as de Erdely, Richard Haines, Tyrus Wong, June Wayne. 1961 was dull, except for Hans Burkhardt’s oil “Conflict” and Robert Frame’s “The Grotto,” where the blues and greens of his heavy oils advance and recede in ever changing patterns. An intaglio by Dick Swift “Fantasy for Horn, Flute and Strings” added a note of charm and lightness to that year. 1958 jurors picked many colorful works, except for the dark, moody, intense lithograph of that skilled draftsman John Paul Jones, called “Pieta.” 1960 was the best year: jurors Leavitt, Robinson and Wight picked eleven uniformly good works of art, varied in their technique (two sculptures, three oils, three watercolors, one print, one serigraph and one intaglio). Sister Mary Corita’s “Still Falls the Rain” is a fairly abstract mood picture, with lovely yellows and reds. Nan Lewis’ stone sculpture “Two Women” is a solid, good piece of workmanship, Burkhardt’s watercolor “Procession” is strong and sturdy and Morris Broderson’s “Catcher at the Bus Stop” is the most powerful picture in the show. With a minimum of detail, fairly thin oils, rather light colors and total two dimensionality he achieves solidity. The face is simultaneously viewed from five positions to add the element of time.

I. E. Desenberg