reviews

  • Auguste Rodin

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    The Museum of Modern Art and the Legion of Honor co-sponsor this belated tribute to Rodin, which was shown in New York during the summer. San Francisco extends the New York exhibit with the addition of its famous Spreckles Collection, some of which was loaned for the East Coast showing. There are now more than 100 works displayed, and while the extension does increase the range as well as the numbers of the New York exhibition, some omissions are to be noted, most significant of which is the big bronze of “The Burghers of Calais.”

    When Rodin died in 1917, aged 77, he was probably the most famous

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  • Print-Sculpture Annual

    Richmond Art Center

    This show is so attractively mounted that its insipid contents are all but obscured. Both the sculpture and the prints display a higher standard of technical proficiency than imaginative insight.

    Fred Sauls shows an unusually fine blue and black welded metal structure, done while he was a student at the University of California at Berkeley. “Crazy John” has a well-considered point of view and is balanced and controlled in execution, an approach he seems to have since put aside.

    Robert McClean’s wooden “sailing machine” is much better than those in his recent Berkeley Gallery show. His work has a

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  • William Morehouse

    Bolles Gallery

    Mr. Morehouse exhibits titanic landscape fantasies in a romantic spirit that would be amply suited to the rendering of persuasive sets for “Die Gotterdammerung.” There is a good deal of gorgeous painting in these “epic panoramas” with indebtedness to Van Gogh as well as to the fantastic stylism of spectacular horizons in Bosch and in the Gothic primitives. However this is neither imitation, derivation, nor erudite paraphrase, but a process of assimilation and transformation in an artist whose individuality is sufficiently strong and mature that heritage can implement it rather than engulf it.

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  • Richard Diebenkorn

    de Young Museum

    Richard Diebenkorn is being shown at the De Young Museum in what is undoubtedly the most completely satisfying one-man exhibit of contemporary painting to be seen this year.

    The artist’s underground reputation as a painter of great promise began in the early 50’s, and he quickly became nationally known, if only to other artists, by the mid-50’s. His lyrical, abstract landscapes of that period can be likened in breadth of expression, depth of feeling and visual perception to the finest second generation abstract expressionists working concurrently in New York. By 1955, the abstractions, with their

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  • “Directions—American Painting”

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    It is perhaps best to forget the stated purpose of this group exhibit consisting of more than six painters in each of four classified groups (Abstract Expressionists, New Realists, Figure Painters and Imagists) which is “to demonstrate the dramatic changes in direction the visual arts have undergone in the past five years.” With the exception of five New Realists (and Robert Rauschenberg who has been erroneously labeled a New Realist), there are no artists included in this show who in the last five years have pioneered or changed the direction of American painting. In the exhibition’s press

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  • Arne Hiersoux

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    Serial painting—the repetition and elaboration of a single theme or image through a series of paintings—exposes the artist to the greatest risk. In return for the advantages of minimum distraction from the working out of his theme, an atmosphere of obsessiveness which locks the viewer like a vise into the artist’s mood, and a purity of presentation, the artist must accept the magnification of any faults in his conception and the failure of everything if the theme of the image will not bear the intensity of scrutiny he demands. Hiersoux’s exhibition of serial paintings runs all the risks without

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  • Gold of the Andes: Treasures of Peru

    M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

    A special exhibition of works of art from the collection of Senor Miguel Muhica Gallo, presented through the courtesy of the Republic of Peru, and containing more than 500 gold objects dating from 200 B.C. to the 16th century.

    This exhibition, equipped with acoustiguide service, is, speaking generally, arranged in a categorical manner which robs it of some emotional quality, but does lay it out for chronological study, and allows for speculation on individual items of jewelry, idols of many kinds, funeral masks, weapons, ceremonial vessels, and crowns and other accessories worn by priests and

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  • Period Paintings and Mark Chagall

    Maxwell Galleries

    The lower gallery features a typic al dealer’s exhibition of European and American period and genre paintings from a considerable span of history: an eclectic array indeed, juxtaposing such diversities as a rather fine “dock-scape” by the 19th century Belgian marinist, Paul J. Clays, a sentimental confection by Bouguereau, a very attractive little Derain, a trivial Vuillard, some early Flemish portraitists, a Grandma Moses and a Prendergast, to mention only a few.

    While for the most part this is the usual run of minor works by famous painters and more ambitious undertakings by the justly obscure,

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  • Expanded Group Show

    Frederic Hobbs Gallery

    Paintings and sculpture by Hobbs’ enlarged group of artists, including Bailey, Block, Bowden, Briggs, Clutten, Courtois, Grant, Gonzales, Gutierrez, Hill, Hobbs, Kishi, Monte, Romano, Mcchesney, Louis and Lundy Siegriest, Saccaro and Safford.

    Hobbs has moved from his cramped quarters on Union Street to this more spacious location which incorporates the gallery, studios, classrooms, sculpture yard, frame shop and paint center into the new San Francisco Art Center which opened September 16. In this combination the participants in the Center’s operation hope to solve the problems of “spacious

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  • Clayton Pinkerton, Morris Yarowsky

    Berkeley Gallery

    Clayton Pinkerton was formerly a competent and lyrical abstract expressionist. About three years ago he began to interest himself in the social context of the world around him. What is now known as pop imagery started to appear in his work and the quality of his painting radically worsened. The quality is coming back up, but the critical problem still remains.

    Pinkerton shares with many other painters in suburban northern California (and in other parts of the country) an interest in the massive symbolic material pouring out of urban information centers. The pop artists (of whom very few come from

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  • Keith Boyle

    Lanyon Gallery

    Some of the finest painting done in northern California this year is in Boyle’s show. Nearly all his canvases display that tense brilliance he has suddenly come on to in the past several months. He works with a semi-symbolic subject matter set into a cock eyed geometric composition. His larger canvases are more successful than his small ones and he probably would do well to use even more space. In his curious fascination for the formal and the common Boyle has a predecessor in Stuart Davis. They both share an attraction for big-city symbolism tied to an international formal art style. For Davis

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  • All-Campus Faculty Show

    University of California at Berkeley

    Since the University of California is such an incredible educational warehouse, it is possible, using only its faculty, to hold 51 another “Artists’ Environment: West Coast” show. This exhibit is, in fact, just as regional as Frederick Wight’s earlier effort, only this show is a crashing bore, largely because the best artists working for the university are only instructors and the space was limited to professors. The display in the University Art Gallery is supplemented by a Berkeley-campus-only show in the art building. The advantage it gives to Berkeley is probably fair, since Berkeley has,

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  • Kent Holloway, Stefanie Steinberg, Margaret Smith

    Artists Cooperative

    Kent Holloway has four really fine paintings here: a portrait in landscape, a still life with flowers, a family self-portrait, and an interior with still life. They are all done with the clean precision of a Flemish Primitive. In them one again confronts the esoteric symbolism of Hugo van der Weyden and the meticulous landscape detail of the Master of Flémalle or Conrad Witz. It is a pleasant confrontation, despite the distraction of some very inferior works he has included in this show. Holloway can help himself considerably by dumping some of his mannerisms and putting the effort it takes to

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  • Posters and Roy Overstreet

    Eric Locke Gallery

    Good posters are fine art. They are genuine pop art. They have mass appeal despite their excellence. They are worthwhile collector’s items. These are the points made by the group of recent posters designed by the old masters of modern art, including Victor Brauner, Jean Arp, Raoul Dufy, Hans Erni, Henri Matisse, Bernard Buffet and Francis Bacon. Most of them were designed to announce the artist’s own shows. However, Kees van Dongen’s Fauvish “Normandie-Beach” is a travel poster and Picasso’s full-feathered white dove was created as a symbol of peace and used to proclaim the ill-fated summit

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  • Ron Boise

    Vorpal Gallery

    Mr. Boise exhibits miniature sheet-metal sculptures consisting of a series of mannequin couples disposed in various attitudes of amorous dalliance, and rendered with those obvious schematizations of the human figure that have become cliches of the more commercial and decorative employments of the medium. Photo-reproductions of essentially the same subject matter from GrecoRoman nymph-and-satyr friezes and the Pompeian murals have long occasioned considerable (and often rather ludicrous) controversy between museum scholars and customs’ censors. However, this ancient erotic art is lyrical,

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  • Alex Gonzales, Jean Kalisch, Georgianna and Robert Else

    Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

    Graphic paintings and colored drawings, landscapes in a poetic mood, sculpture in a variety of styles, and landscapes in Blue Rider colors. Gonzales is the start here. His paintings become, in part, graphics. Into a thick layer of oil paint, often white straight from the tube, he scratches, scrapes and scribes to form tactile textures of grass and other growing things. Derived from landscape, his recent works describe that small variety which, greatly extended, relieves the monotony of much of the world’s scenery. While his paintings are of uniform quality, his drawings present a spotty performance,

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  • Betty Carney Pope

    Artists Cooperative Gallery, Sacramento

    Recent paintings of Americana by this Montanaborn artist, which indicate a changeover from lyricism to popism. Although there is a certain poetic quality remaining in those works dealing with social comment, she has apparently given much thought to that attitude called “Americanism,” examining it from many angles, and has summarized her thoughts in her largest and best painting (here), “United We Stand.” It concerns flags, a subject with which many of today’s artists are curiously obsessed. Miss Pope has made a composite of the various flags flown through its development by this union which is

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  • Byron Burford

    Art Unlimited

    Professor Burford’s recent oil paintings (of which the topical theme, quite incidentally, is ‘War’) presents a collection of placid, blandly refined essays on style, comprising the meditations of a seasoned academician upon certain idioms in American art from the WPA era to the late 1940’s. In such statements as “Women Making Munitions” (1963) the painting of details alludes unmistakably to Edward Hopper. But it is with syntax rather than with painting that Burford is primarily concerned. He is intrigued by that amalgamation of the figurative themes of “social comment” with the architectonics

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  • Jean Hyson

    Pomeroy Galleries

    A gallery announcement conveys that Miss Hyson was born in Texas in 1928, studied at the Art Students’ League with Kuniyoshi and Grosz, is “a member of Artist’s Equity,” has had work exhibited on the campuses of a couple of American universities, as well as “in Paris, France and Mexico City,” and that she has done extensive traveling and living abroad. If smart set giddy dilettantism must be ornamented with pretensions to a career, presumably all of this and having exhibitions lends artistic verisimilitude to the affectation. However, perforce, a sine qua non of this little vanity is something

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  • Joshua Meador

    Galerie de Tours

    Mr. Meador, a Mississippian by birth, and a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, presents principally soft-focused American rural landscapes in oil. These genre paintings are well-enunciated cliches in a familiar idiom that has become such a persistently commercialized, die-hard strain of popular traditionalism in American art that at least its immediate lineage is worth tracing. Simply stated, it is a New England regionalism that evolved spontaneously during the first two decades of the present century. While ultimately a complex of 19th-century European influences, its immediate indebtednesses

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  • Marvin Mund

    Lucian Labaudt Gallery

    Mr. Mund’s paintings in oil present a crisply manipulated colorism in aseptic tonalities, cold glossy surfaces and fastidiously cut edges. There are methodically elaborated geometric abstractions and astringently schematized allusions to Nature and the figurative. In his more expanded essays, meticulous execution, disciplined comprehension of the architectortics of color and carefully achieved sapphire translucencies save these brittle symmetries from being mere platitudes of Bauhaus muralism and impart to them a hard glacial beauty. In smaller confines Mr. Mund’s methods produce what appear

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  • Lewis Carson

    New Mission Gallery

    This young collagist’s one-man show is decidedly hesitant and perhaps premature. Carson nails metal, cloth and wood to boards and then paints the objects over in the somber colors associated with the San Francisco idiom. As assemblages these pieces fail to work because there is little interplay between materials and almost no interest in them. However, these constructions do not make very exciting paintings either, because the surface is divided up into sections that are all roughly the same size, thereby eliminating any center of interest. Beyond all this, a work of art uses the materials at

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