Showing at the Paul Thiebaud Gallery in North Beach, September 9th through November 8, is the thirteenth installment of Twenty-Five Treasures. The collection is a hodge-podge of exceptional objects and paintings of different styles from different continents. From Matisse, Rousseau, Morandi and Gorky to Ed Musante, Eileen David, and various other contemporary artists, the collection is eclectic to say the least.
Although it tickles the funny bone to see works by historical figures such as Rousseau or Matisse, and the colors in Wayne Thiebaud's works are always eye-grabbing, what stood out most was the large wooden sculpture of a bison by contemporary artist Matt Roger. Produced this year, the work, simply entitled Bison, is composed of a mixture of pine, valley oak, manzanita and mahogany. It is truly a stunning sculpture; natural knots in the wood are emphasized with one comprising the bison's right eye.
To the untrained eye, this selection of art may seem to lack a cohesive theme. However, the various pieces were chosen to trace parallels between the 19th to early 20th century European masters and contemporary American artists. The inclusion of objects, such as a sculpture from the Bamana Peoples of Mali, and ivory carvings of saint's heads from the Phillippines may seem inharmonious to those without any knowledge of the art historical links between so-called "primitive" art and that of the West, or in the case of the Philippine carvings, the influence of colonialism on indigenous cultures. The exhibition, which presents an interesting choice of pieces, each one unique and special, is definitely worth a look for its historical value.
*Images, from top to bottom: Joan Brown, "Self-Portrait, 1960" oil on canvas, 21" x 19." Frank Auerbach, "Julia Seated, 1992," acrylic on wood, 14" x 12." Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, "Playa de Valencia (Valencia Beach) c. 1903," oil on panel, 5' 1/4 x 9' 3/4. Fred Dalkey, "Model in Gestrual Pose, Arm Over Head, 1996," sanguin Conte crayon on paper, 8 3/4 x 6 1/2. All images courtesy of Mr. Ira Shrank at Sixth Street Studio, San Francisco.