Los Angeles

Serge Mendjisky

Plaisir de France

Roughly translated, the gallery’s name, “Pleasure From France,” reflects its policy of showing alternating exhibits of works by contemporary and traditional artists including lithographs by such masters as Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Cézanne and Bonnard.

Serge Mendjisky’s small oil paintings are exciting and colorful. Untouched white canvas is juxtaposed with bright, impressionistic strokes; the subject matter is of French landscapes, everyday scenes of villages, forests and people. Although freely done technically, he paints with economy in brush strokes, using contrasting vivid colors in figurative matter and eliminating all unnecessary detail. The exhibition is slight but there are several little gems painted in the Provence made famous by Cézanne: of Esterel, Fontainebleau and especially Aix, on the French Riviera. His studies in oil of the Grand-Prix are also very appealing.

In conjunction with the alternating exhibition, the gallery, which began as a bookshop of collector’s items in Westwood, now has several rare editions by Ambroise Vollard. His Reincarnations Du Pere Ubu, 104 woodblocks and 22 original etchings, is but one example. Another extraordinary treat for the bibliophile is Marc Chagall’s The Bible, one of 275 editions with 105 magnificent etchings. Soon the rare editions and the choice selection of art books will be moved upstairs to a new browsing area, as the expanding exhibition schedule will take up all available gallery space on the first floor.

Betje Howell