The gelleries of “An American Group” at the Barbizon Plaza Hotel are holding their third annual guest exhibition. The list of the nivited guests forms an impressive array of names looming large in contemporary American art.
The showing of the original members of the group is particularly unimpressive. It is as if in their desire to play the perfect hosts tehy presented the least important of their own canvasses. Let the guests glitter. The only member of the group who doesn’t seem to give a hang for these ethics of hospitality is that brazen young fellow, Louis Ribak. His “August Day on East River” is a bright, cheerful canvas, replete with sunshine, movement and life. It is vastly superior to many of the invited canvases.
Head and shoulders above the other contribution to the show is Orzco’s sombre, powerful, dramatic “Wounded Soldier.” Reginald Marsh’s “Alma Mater” is another picture that is likely to survive. It is a genuine bit of contemporary New York, humorous and sad. Karfiol is represented by a rich, luscious “Bathers in Pine Woods.” Maurice Sterne’s “Gladys” is a rather uninspiring affair.
As to the members of the group perhaps the less said the better. Shulkin, their president, in his conventional composition, still cannot get over his Cezanne and Jacob Smith, of all things, has gone religious. he actually submits a Crucifixion. What an escape!
From the foreword in the catalogue of his exhibition being held at the Jacques Seligmann Galleries, one learns that Boris Deutsch was born in 1892 in th evillage Krasnogorka, near Riga Russia. In 1916, he enigrated to the United States, landing in Seattle. Three years later we find him in Los Angeles, where for twelve years he worked in isolation in the Jewish section of that town. His work can be seen in many Western museums and in well known privated collections.
Boris Deutsch is an artist of no mean ability. The Western reputation that preceded him to New York is well earned. His art is consciously and locally Jewish. In Seattle and Los Angeles he paints his village Krasnogorka with its scholars, musiclans and beggars. # believe that had he lived in Hollywood his art would have been the same. Like that of Chagall and our own Max Weber it is based on distortion and the grotes que and although he lacks the inventiveness of the first and the beautiful artistry of the second, Deutsch possesses a stark sim plicity that is almost haunting.
His most ambitious painting, The Genius, is also one of his most successful. It repressents a life size figure of an old Jew lost in the study of the Talmud. A tremendous head on a puny, twisted body, all spirit and abnegation ludicrous and pitiful, it is a well realized conception that might rank with the famous “Green Jew” of Chagall.
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