Los Angeles

Gallery Selections

ACA American Masters

A generous sampling of recent works and studies by William Gropper strongly underscores what a minor figure he was/is. He is most familiar for his haranguing politicians of the turbulent ’30s, but whatever bemused vitriol his graphic spirit may once have contained has drained away, and his style rests somewhere between UPA cartoon designing and a blatant dependence upon Ben Shahn. This he disposes nicely among a random assortment of figurative subjects.

One may, however, enjoy the solid delights of several Moses Soyer drawings, and observe the textural sidestepping and graphic mannerisms a sound old-line draftsman may typically try when faced with the physical tangibility of paint and the emotional power of color.

The miscellany prove far more lively. In the A. B. Davies chalk study, Bellows’ Study of Old Man, and Luks’ Seated Nude are gauged some varieties of American “realism”; from palely sweet post-academicizing, to a soft focus memorialization, to a planal and toughly generous objectivity. The Hassam and Hartley landscapes are agitated, brightly colored examples, seemingly freshly minted. No simpler comparison would reveal the difference a generation of change can make. The small Gorky drawing too stands out, rapier-like pencil strokes on an appropriately bitter yellow sheet.

Fidel A. Danieli