OK. Here’s the disclaimer. To my friends who are not into modern art and who especially
dislike abstract expressionism, this is not for you. If you are interested in this stuff, here goes…
As a part of Pacific Standard Time, the Jack Rutberg Fine Art Gallery is exhibiting a show of the works of the abstract expressionist, Hans Burkhardt. Admittedly, upon learning this, it hardly registered as a blip on my radar. Sure, I know all about de Kooning and Pollock and Raushenberg and Gorky and the rest. Burkhardt? … Not really. The truth is that Burkhardt was not like those guys. He was those guys! While living in New York he was even roommates with Arshile Gorky.
The big difference is that Burkhardt came to live in LA in 1937. Although LA has always had a great art scene, it’s not really known as a “painter’s” city. New York was where the artists you read about in history books worked. LA was known for aerospace and automobiles and movies and design and architecture and surfing. Not so much about painting. That is not to say Burkhardt wasn’t successful. He had plenty of shows, won a lot of honors throughout his 70 year career and his works can sell in the upper six figures… I’m really not sure how I missed him.
About the show… The work is excellent, every bit as accomplished as the rest of his abstract expressionist brethren. He wasn’t static either. His work evolved over the years often reflecting the times, but his personal style always showed through (in the way Picasso constantly evolved but you can always tell it’s a Picasso). The exhibition is really impressive and I’ve become an instant fan. This is museum quality stuff.
Maybe the rest of you already know all about him, but for me Hans Burkhardt is easily the greatest modern artist I’ve never known.
Websites for info: