The paintings (1932-1939) of Nils Gren, though representational, is as much about shape, texture, color, and shading as it is about the countryside, the towns, or the people and objects. Jacques Schnier's sculptures and works on paper (1927-1946) emphasized form, and incorporated rhythmic design and a purity of line, setting a standard for the Art Deco aesthetic.
Nils Gren: Of Magic and Mood. Paintings 1932-1939
Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts is proud to present the first showing in over 20 years of the artistry of one of CaliforniaÂ¹s most unique and important Modernist artists: Nils Gren (1893 Â 1940). We also are very pleased to present early works from the Estate of Jacques Schnier (1898 Â 1988), one of California's foremost artists and a major force in Art Deco artistic design.
The work of Nils Gren, though representational, is as much about shape, texture, color, and shading as it is about the countryside, the towns, or the people and objects that inhabit his paintings. A 1940 exhibition of Gren's paintings (the year Gren died) at the San Francisco Museum of Art prompted these comments from San Francisco Chronicle critic Alfred Frankenstein: "Mr. Gren's best pictures are fantastic, moody, imaginative landscapes in oil, with the looping rhythms characteristic of his approach." This exhibition will include oil paintings, watercolors and graphite drawings.
Born Nils Ahgren in Sweden in 1893, Nils Gren left his native country in 1912. After travels to Australia, New York City and Los Angeles (where he studied with Stanton Macdonald Wright), Gren moved to San Francisco in the late 1920s. Around 1930 Gren destroyed all his earlier work, but went on to produce paintings with what became his signature style Â nocturnes and fantastic images of people, places and objects. GrenÂ¹s paintings were widely exhibited in museum shows, including the Oakland Art Gallery, the San Francisco Museum of Art Inaugural Exhibition in 1935, and the Palace of the Legion of Honor. He also produced a colorful mural for his friend, restaurateur and former bootlegger Isadore Gomez, for GomezÂ¹ 848 Pacific Street restaurant (the original study for this exquisitely detailed and symbolic mural will be featured in this exhibition). His work is included in many public collections, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Oakland Museum.
Jacques Schnier, Master of the Art Deco Aesthetic: Sculpture and Works on Paper from 1927- 1946
Jacques Schnier's sculptures and works on paper emphasized form, and incorporated rhythmic design and a purity of line, setting a standard for the Art Deco aesthetic. He became known as one of America's most creative Modernists, and one of the nation's finest direct carvers, whether working in wood or stone. We are pleased to present sculptures, ink wash and graphite drawings by this Art Deco master.
Educated first in engineering, Jacques Schnier came to sculpture circuitously: while working as an engineer in Hawaii, he discovered Asian and Polynesian sculpture, and returned to the mainland in 1923 to pursue a career in art. Schnier studied for two years at the University of California, Berkeley, and then at the California School of Fine Arts, where he turned his focus to sculpture. The fact that Schnier's artistic training followed his discovery of Asian and Polynesian art meant that his aesthetic assumptions were quite different from those artists who studied art academically and then came upon primitivist sources of inspiration. His early sculptures showed an interest not just in the Asian aesthetic, but also in those of Egypt and pre-Classic Greece; as a result, Schnier's work often reflected an amalgamation of historical references.
The Gallery specializes in California Modernism of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, and is one of the only galleries to undertake large-scale exhibitions featuring the important art and artists of the Modernist period in California.
Public Reception: November 5, 2005, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts
9200 West Olympic Boulevard, Beverly Hills
Gallery hours, Tuesday Saturday, 11am-6pm