Los Angeles

Fritz Schwaderer

Desert Museum, Palm Springs

Fritz Schwaderer, a southern California artist, shows a large group of paintings, the most impressive of which belong to the German Expressionist movement. Now an American citizen, Schwaderer’s relationship to German Expressionism dates from studies at the Academy in Berlin (1920–24) under Karl Hofer. In the best of the paintings the most characteristic elements of Expressionism are employed with considerable conviction. “Lavender Workers” portrays in somewhat mystical and entirely arbitrary color the anxiety and suffering of symbolic rather than specific man. With natural form and color negated “Waliser Alps,” perhaps the most successful of the canvases shown moves farthest from reality and in a bold structured manner searches for the significance underlying outward appearances in nature. Although utilizing a similar palette, a small group of paintings shown seem so far removed from Schwaderer’s best as to be from another hand. It is difficult to understand how a painter of intensely felt anti-reality can adapt himself to these rather sentimental and powerless canvases. Nevertheless, ignoring this inconsistency, Schwaderer is an artist of power and insight. It is encouraging to know that the handsome new facilities of the Desert Museum will be used to show significant works from outside sources in addition to the space devoted to Southwest historical art. Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley area have needed such contacts.

George Baker