Traditional Tastes Find a Good Home at Los Angeles Art Show

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES--Forget, for a moment, the cutting edge of the contemporary scene. Collectors continue to be drawn to less flashy, more reserved traditional art, as evidenced by the growing success of the six-year-old Los Angeles Art Show, presented annually by the Fine Art Dealers Association (FADA), a non-profit organization of art dealers offering period and regional paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture and photography from the 19th and 20th century. Held Sept. 14-17 in Los Angeles, the FADA expo showcased art geared to traditional tastes, including works by William Wendt, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Albert Bierstadt, Granville Redmond, Joseph Henry Sharp, Maurice Braun, Thomas Moran, Maynard Dixon, and Rembrandt, whose etchings were on view at Galerie Michael's booth.

FADA is riding an explosion of collector interest in precisely those realism genres its members extol: 19th and 20th century American Impressionism, plein air landscape, Western Americana, WPA and regionalism, maritime, Hudson River School, Taos Society, Barbizon, the Paris Salon, London's Royal Academy and other academic art and portraiture. And as this annual exposition has expanded to include some 48 art dealers--just 30 of them members of FADA--even mid-century modernism, with its interest in form and color, is represented at the show.

The opening night preview benefit, raising funds for the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, brought in some 800 attendees, according to Fair organizer Kim Martindale. This being Los Angeles, star sightings included Diane Keaton, Steve Martin and the costar of TV's VIP show, Molly Culver. Martindale expected overall attendance to reach 5,000, because, he said," I think L.A. is coming into its own as a center for the arts."

Many of the dealers present make a market in narrowly-defined art genres. For example, Questroyal Fine Art of New York specializes in American paintings of the 19th and early 20th century. Rehs Galleries, also of New York, focuses on "important" academic art. William A. Karges Fine Art, of Carmel, Calif., and Los Angeles, specializes in early California paintings. Vallejo Gallery of Newport Beach, Calif., concentrates on period maritime paintings from the past three centuries. Thomas Nygard Gallery of Bozeman, Mont. …