Los Angeles

Constantine and Group Show

Cowie Wilshire Galleries and Cowie Galleries (Biltmore Hotel)

Now living in Los Angeles, Constantine Cherkas was born in Moscow and studied there and in Vienna and Munich. Perhaps there is some connection between his early training and his portrait style in such major pieces as Sasha which resembles the work of the Munich-trained Duveneck. The influence however, does not carry over into his landscapes. Here realistic and abstract elements are combined in a manner ascribed to Synthesism (a Parisian movement of the last five years). Too often the combination remains a conscious one. Only in the oil sketches is it resolved. These at moments achieve enough vigor to bring to mind the masterly works of van Gogh. Some of Constantine’s most inspired color is seen in his bather pieces where hot oranges and reds set up an effective vibration. Unfortunately, too many of the other paintings fail to evince the energy of genuine unique vision. Much of the same lack of real vitality is evident in the group show at the Cowie Galleries (Biltmore Hotel). Having become acquainted with the stylistic cliches of Maynard, Watson, Avril, Kester and the like, interest wanes. Moments of excitement do exist in the spectacular and arbitrary coloring of the highly feminine figure studies by Sandor Klein, but his Neo-Romanticism tends to be excessive. In contrast, the more durable experiences come from the paintings of Mark Fisher, R.A. (1841–1923) in which the British influence of Constable restrains the broken color of French Impressionism. Overshadowed in his own time, his works may now stand independently as historic contributions to landscape painting.