San Francisco

Delacroix, Ralph Du Casse, Robert Dhaemers, Sundet

Mills College Art Gallery

The Eugene Delacroix exhibit consists of small lithographs (including a series of illustrations for Goethe’s Faust), watercolors and etchings borrowed from various California collections. No paintings are shown, but there are a few sculptures which seem to have been made to explore ideas Delacroix found in his painting and which have little independent life of their own. Delacroix seems to have taken no interest in realizing an idea through drawing. The drawings in this show are either shaded to look like paintings or (as in two notebook sheets owned by Vincent Price) are close to being doodles. Although the watercolors in this show are also poor, it is evident that Delacroix did use this medium to work out ideas and problems with a seriousness and a willingness to work within the terms of the materials that is not found in the drawings presented.

Ralph Du Casse is a decorative painter who obviously does not wish to be one. Some canvases which date from the late fifties show that he was a decorative and somewhat calligraphic abstract expressionist (whose greatest weakness was his palette). His recent work seems to be an attempt to catch up with Rothko and the “younger” generation who are extrapolating out of abstract expressionism their own situations and dramatic conclusions. However, Du Casse’s work seems to be abstractions from the figure which is enormously off the point for anyone attempting “simplist” art. His recent work continues to be calligraphic and decorative, despite his earnest intentions otherwise.

Robert Dhaemers is a sculptor who nails boxes and fancy wooden bits together and paints them purple and orange. He also makes ceramics and jewelry. Dhaemers’ best works are three photographs of a very well-known and remarkable local model. They are honest and thoroughly convincing in expressing her personality.

Sundet does competent renditions of a theme that was old when Philip Guston got hold of it.

Joanna C. Magloff