San Francisco

Roberto Montenegro, Jesus Serna Maytorena, William Lenoir

Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

Paint­ings by two prominent Mexican artists, watercolors of Old Sacramento, and a group show from the Nevada City Art Association.

Montenegro is one of the founders of the modern school of painting in Mex­ico, along with Diego Rivera and, later, Rufino Tamayo, his onetime helper in mural painting. He has been both teach­er and editor in his campaign to free Mexican artists from the colonial past, and in doing so, has himself been caught in the trap of history. This show has just returned from Tokyo. In it one finds a paradoxical blend of archeologi­cal remains and living studies of to­day’s Indians, illustrating with plastic forcefulness the important role that pre-Hispanic traditions still play in modern Mexico. Like most other artists from south of the Great Barranca, Mon­tenegro emphasizes mass, even when using line. Here, however, his edges are mostly contour. One of these paintings is being donated to the Museum’s perm­anent collection, by Mrs. Maud T. Pook.

Maytorena (Serna) is a younger artist, whose manner of expression swings from Rivera’s rhythmical monumental­ity to Tamayo’s angular activations. This inconsistency would indicate that he is yet searching for a truly personal style—a hard thing to find in southern Mexico where great public art projects, massive archeological fields and an overpowering physiography tend to en­gulf the individual. His most notable contributions here are in modern Mex­ican genre, where he frees himself from dominating influences to speak for himself of the people he knows and the things they do.

Lenoir’s 12 watercolors interpret the life of the 1870’s in Sacramento, with fidelity to costume, carriage, waterfront detail and famous landmarks.

The Nevada City Art Association has kept its show small. Its members ap­parently have a high level of technical skill, but, although located in one of California’s most historical and picturesque areas, as a group they seem to lack any real inspiration in subject matter.

E. M. Polley