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Two Icons of California Modernism
September 15 through November 10, 2007
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 15 - 2 to 5pm
The Tobey C. Moss Gallery presents simultaneous solo exhibitions of art by PETER KRASNOW (1887 - 1979) and RICO LEBRUN (1900 - 1964)
For PETER KRASNOW, we trace the evolution of his techniques, from the early paintings, drawings and prints of the 1920s, to the watercolors and ‘Demountable’ wood sculptures of the 1930s, and then the paintings of the 1940s through the next decades of his life. Included is a 1928 lithograph portrait of his great friend, Edward Weston, watercolors depicting his experiences in France in the early1930s, courtesy of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the totemic segmented wood forms derived from trees in his backyard and his later paintings that drew upon his Russian-Jewish heritage.
Krasnow emigrated to the United States in 1908, found his way to a maintenance job at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied and graduated in 1916. After a brief year or two in New York, he and his bride drove to Los Angeles, where they were befriended by Weston and brought into the small but fertile group of independent modern artists that included Stanton Macdonald Wright and Nicholas P. Brigante.
Our showing of RICO LEBRUN’s work explores the course of the artist’s career. In his drawings, lithographs and paintings of the 1930s until his death in 1965, Lebrun depicts tragic figures desperately fleeing from the depredations of war, poverty and disease. Some images present the theme of the Crucifixion, the ultimate pathos of mankind. The ‘Three Penny Opera’ of Bertold Brecht stimulated other drawings.
Rico Lebrun was born in Italy, attended the Naples Academy of Fine Arts - immersed in classical art history. He emigrated to New York in 1924 and worked in a stained glass factory. He worked in the FAP/WPA, finally abandoning New York in favor of southern California when his favorite mural was destroyed in the reconstruction of Penn Station. After living in Santa Barbara with friend and fellow artist Channing Peake, he taught at the Jepson School in Los Angeles to great acclaim.
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