Ankrum Gallery Artists

The Phoenix Art Museum

The Phoenix Art Museum, young, fast­ growing, dynamic organization of the southwest has “Of Time and the Image,” a collection of 13 artists from the young, ebullient Ankrum Gallery of Los Angeles. The exhibit is comprised of two works each from the artists, one early painting and one current painting, and presents the viewer with an opportunity to observe and evaluate the individual artist's growth and development. The artists selected for this show are Lorser Feitel­son, Helen Lundeberg, Irving Block, Robert Frame, Shirl Goedike, Morris Broderson, Arthur Secunda, Arnold Mesches, Fritz Karl Schwaderer, Fred­erick Wight, Harry Lieberman, Janel Lessing and Henry Miller.

These names constitute an impressive stable of contemporary talent, especial­ly when one realizes that the Antrum Gallery in the highly competitive Los Angeles market has only been in exist­ence for a brief 3 years. How a new gallery could accomplish this is built around the hard work, dedication, per­sonality and enthusiasm of Joan Ankrum and her assistant, William Challee.

The works that have been selected reflect the wide variation of styles and interests of each and his personal ex­plorations of techniques, philosophies and images. They all involve the view­er in a dialogue with the artist as to the value and meaning of contempor­ary painting.

The paintings are individual and unique, each with its own vocabulary; none of these artists is working either from a vacuum or towards one. They all vividly reflect their own intuition, conscious awareness and their particular relationship to their time, their environment, and their interpretation of it.

Lorser Feitelson and his wife, Helen Lundeberg, both evolved from the real­istic contemporary styles of 1922 and 1934 to formalist hard-edged painting. This is a contemporary concern with discipline, unemotional images of space, line precision and total integration of color and form. In Lundeberg there is still reference to landscape; her paint­ings are motionless and quiet, remote and intrinsic in themselves, complete distilled poems. Lorser Feitelson, who has worked at painting for 50 years, has gone through many phases of development, from involvement with the kinetics of form to aspects of visual imagery. He has painted in cubist styles, used multiple exposures, man­nerist inventions, neo-classical and post-surrealist idioms, and now his main concern is formalist painting, al­ways with an eye to the logic and purity of structure. There are no acci­dents in Feitelson's paintings: they are lucid, exact, clear and ordered. Feitelson has not stood still.

Irving Block in his two canvases Courtship of Europa and the Bull 1952 and Caryatid 1963 shows great change in style and approach. His paintings are remarkably rich in color, have elegance and sensibility. Robert Frame has become more abstract in his work and builds strong dynamic tensions of color and form in his cur­rent work. Fritz Schwaderer exhibited with the German Expressionists in 1946 and is still involved with this form of emotional brushwork and deep exploration with the interpretation of life ac­cented by genuine individualism.

Arthur Secunda shows much origin­ality and diversity in his search for a meaningful image. He shows Italian Self Portrait, 1950 and Birming­ham, a rich, powerful rhythm set against a neutral quality of grey space, violence and quiet.

Morris Broderson who has been called “an artist of tragic innocence” has one of his remarkable psycholo­gical canvases coupled with an early meticulously modeled charcoal study, 1943. The Trap, 1963, is a moving, mystical, beautifully constructed paint­ing with a strong spiritual impact. Shirl Goedike shows an early oil Bay Area Magic, 1957, a painting concerned with perspective, movement and space and the current Chairs of the Prom­enade which is a simple integrated, clean fresh vision. Arnold Mesches is a painter of strange moods, emotion­ally involved in the celebrations of life and death. His early Ollies Cafe 1955 is Ash Can School in mood and Life and Death, 1964, is a work in which his concepts of color, volume and content make direct contact with the viewer. Frederick Wight shows Two Women In the Surf, an expressionistic painting and Death In Venice which is a long short story, based on the work by Thomas Mann.

Among the three self-taught artists are Henry Miller, Janel Lessing and Harry Lieberman. Lieberman stands out in this group as the true primitive. His paintings are mystical and child­like. They reflect the man and his back­ground, the kindly, benevolent philo­sopher. Lieberman, a Rabbi from Rus­sia, decided to paint at 77 years of age. His paintings, vivid in color, are direct blessings of love which embrace the entire span of his life.

Janel Lessing is considered a child prodigy and draws and paints from inner impulses and her imagination. She prefers drawing people in realistic situations and her canvases are cast with a large number of actors in a variety of activities. They are immature and un-resolved but appealing in a naive way.

Henry Miller's paintings are amusing, colorful, lively and fun to see.

The Phoenix Art Museum is a posi­tive art force in the Pacific southwest that has had a story of singular suc­cess. Dr. F. M. Hinkhouse launched the Museum with an astonishing drive for building funds and has not les­sened either his drive nor his capacity to garner in the sheaves. The artistic climate in Phoenix under Hinkhouse is one of vitality, activity and growth.

In early winter of 1965 the Museum will dedicate a new wing which will encompass an extensive gallery of Western Art—American paintings and sculpture and also Latin-American Art. They have recently been the fortunate beneficiaries of significant gifts which greatly enhance the quality of their permanent collection. Henry R. Luce has given the Museum two French mas­terpieces of the 18th and 19th centuries, La Lecon de Lecture, by Francois Boucher and Le Christ au Tombeau by Eugene Delacroix.

An additional generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Don Harrington of Phoenix of 48 works includes a major Monet Les Arceaux Flouris-Giverny, Flow­ers in a Vase by Redon, Courtyard with Nuns by Corot and Roses and Landscape by Renoir.

Morton D. May of New York has also recently given the Phoenix Museum an invaluable collection of primitive art from New Guinea which is temporarily housed in the Heard Museum pending the new million-dollar wing and the addition of a special gallery to house this collection.

––Harriette von Breton