Los Angeles

Pechstein, Münter, and Jawlensky

Dalzell Hatfield Galleries

German ex­pressionism, particularly its Fauvist-in­fluenced phases, continues to attract the contemporary art world. The period’s intense personal expression, character­ized primarily by its cacophonous colors and restless compositions, has peculiar cognitive value to many who are work­ing with the image today. The present showing of selected works by Pechstein, Münter, and Jawlensky is the first in a series of exhibitions planned at the Dal­zell Hatfield Galleries. Max Pechstein, who joined Die Brucke in 1906 after his return from Paris, retained much of the influence of the French school. Nude and Still Life (1912) reflects the pat­tern of Gauguin, the increasingly two­-dimensional structure of Cézanne’s late studies of still life, and the break­through in color of Matisse, giving to all three a Germanic intensification that is the most significant ingredient. In con­trast, Cartosa (1913) lacking the strain, the zeal and the fervent involvement of the artist, becomes little more than an historical document of Cézanne’s direct influence. Intermezzo (c. 1917–18) is again more personal although it is evi­dent that the artist has seen van Gogh’s Sunflowers and has become intrigued with the casual devices of Degas, abruptly cutting the candid image of the figure by the picture frame. The 1919 Sailboats marks the mature in­dependence of Pechstein, completing a relatively comprehensive study of the artist through his formative years. What has always seemed to be a dual personality in Alexej Jawlensky is seen on the one hand in his Er und Sie of 1912, a double portrait that is more in the spirit of the Dresden group than in the mode of the Munich painters to which the artist belonged. On the other hand, the heads from the “Inneres Schauen” series of about 1918 to 1927 and the later “Meditation” series of the thirties are deeply involved in the reli­gious theories of Jawlensky and Kan­dinsky. The slightly more delicate can­vases of Gabrielle Münter cover the years 1912 to 1952 and exhibit a most remarkable unity of feeling. The collec­tion of German expressionists owned by the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries is one of the best locally available.

––Constance Perkins