Los Angeles

Modigliani, Gustave Dore, Delacroix, Jean Hippolyte Lazarges and Sickert

Rex Evans Gallery

Potted geraniums and wrought-iron handrails on the stairway leading to the Rex Evans Gallery set the tone by which to appreciate the refined surroundings of master drawings within. The work ranges from 1860 to 1960 and includes both sketches and drawings.

One side of a choice double drawing by Modigliani portrays a woman and her watchful cat, an analogy also caught by Toulouse-Lautrec. Its lines are so essential that they would require prying to be removed. By coincidence, the brief nature of a sketch appears as the romantic predilection for deliberate obscuring in a Gustave Dore. In it, two gowned ladies rustle by a crowd of mystery men whose heads, which are only ovals, turn and set up a murmur that cannot be distinguished. In contrast, a Delacroix, “Hamlet et le Fossoyeur,” remains a notation of his characteristic diagonal movement rather than the portrayal of a scene.

An operatic toast to wine, women, and more song is made in a Jean Hippolyte Lazarges entitled “Feast” And in “A Street Scene” by Luigi Lori, France, 1845–1916, the severity of an empty, wide road is brought home by the shapes of air and skyline which lock together.

Among several drawings of Dieppe by Sickert, who spent dozens of summers there, “St. Remy, Dieppe” is a glimpse of the back street between the apse of a church and a storied French facade, and gives the sense of quiet and permanence usually felt in such a place. Considering the variety and the authenticity of the moods presented in the exhibit, the show’s title seems to be good advice.

Molly Siple