San Francisco

“The Longview Foundation Collection”

University Art Gallery, University of California, Berkeley

In comparison to art collections belonging to other collegiate institutions—Oberlin, for example—the University of California’s makes a pretty weak showing. It is to the credit of the Longview Foundation that it has even this much, and, since the collection is a growing one, any judgment of its overall quality is conditional. If future additions match the excellence of such recent arrivals as Mark de Suvero’s large and powerful junk metal construction, the possibilities are bright. If, on the other hand, di Niro’s footless and barely “Standing Figure” is a sign of what is to come, the future is less rosy. Since, it seems, Hans Hofmann’s fine oil “Summer Bliss” of 1960 and de Kooning’s untitled litho of the same year joined the group by happy chance, they do not represent the policy of the collection, which ordinarily focuses on less famous names. These works do, however, add considerable tone to the whole. High points of the group are Milton Resnick’s dense, mat green “New York 3” (1958), Paul Burlin’s “Yellow Point and Umber” (1959), and George Spaventa’s small (but grand scale) bronze, “A Hand on a Column” (1957). Leland Bell’s “cezannoid” “Maison Tellier” (1958), Knox Martin’s (not Martin Knox) “Sleeping Woman,” and Rose’s “Self-Portrait” are among its lows.

Granted that the gallery did not have much time to arrange this show (it replaced an exhibition of photographs of Candela’s architecture rather suddenly), there is still little excuse for the sloppy installation. Spaventa’s small, bronze “Sculptor’s Table” was set so low it tripped the unwary. What is worse—it couldn’t be seen. Nor was Robert Mallary’s wall relief, “Bronco,” easy to judge against its tan colored background. Finally, since this is the University’s collection, is it too much to expect a catalog (even a mimeographed one) and the proper identification of the painters and their works?

Bruce Boice