San Francisco

Earl Loran

Since 1936 Loran has been both assistant Professor and Professor of Art at the University of California at Berkeley. The enormous respect in which Loran holds Cézanne’s painting was evidenced in 1943 with the publication of the book, Cézanne’s Composition. (Loran himself recorded, with a Brownie, the vantage points where Cézanne must have planted his easel in order to paint the recurring themes of Mt. St. Victoire, the views of L’Estaque and Gardanne and the studies of rocks and trees in the forest of the Chateau Noir.) The book has enjoyed what might be called “best seller” success in that relatively limited market to which it appeals.

Loran’s exhibiting career includes twenty one-man shows, complemented by numerous museum group exhibitions, juried exhibitions and international group shows. The present large exhibit of current work at the De Young Museum emerges as a radical departure from the painting style of Loran’s recent past. The pictures on view have a flat, gentle sweetness that was nowhere evident earlier in his career. These works are built up from flat washes which increase in density as the paint is built up layer upon layer. The process from beginning to end is quite apparent as Loran has allowed the spectator to follow the complete process in most of the paintings. What Loran has gained in lyricism he has lost in boldness. After viewing the entire exhibit more than once, the viewer is overwhelmed by a soft monotony, a nether world where anxiety, tension and stresses can be escaped, and are.

James Monte