Kenneth Stubbs
(American artist, 1907-1967)

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December Shows At Whyte Gallery And Smithsonian

The Whyte Gallery recently opened its group show of paintings in oil and water color suitable in size and theoretically in price, for Christmas gifts. The exhibition will remain on view through December, thus affording recipients of Christmas checks an opportunity to select their own pictures, which would seem to be a safer procedure.

In view of the strength of individual tastes, and the firmness of convictions about art, it is a risky business to pick a painting for someone else, unless one has a really intimate knowledge of the other person's preferences. Prints and decorative arts are a different matter, for the former are often kept in portfolios, and the latter frequently are used only at intervals and can be tucked out of sight.

Of more than 30 paintings on view at the Whyte Gallery, there are just nine that I would be pleased to find among my Christmas gifts. I liked John Gernand's poetic "Sunset in Winter," seen through bare tree branches; Harold Giese's peaceful "Cold Night" with a moon; Leonard Maurer's abstract, "Yellow and Brown," with a bare-tree effect; Lois Jones' and Celine Tabary's glimpses of France; Kenneth Stubbs' delicate "Avignon" rooftops; John C. Lewis' "Tangled Nets," in pinkish mauve and grays; Marguerite Burgess' "Water Street," and Edward Rosenfeld's characterful "Winter."

Some of the others are well painted and have certain facets of interest. But as permanent wall decoration they leave something to be desired, in my opinion. For instance, I should think Sarah Baker's melancholy clowns would have a depressing effect on those who live with them. But some other gallerygoers will probably feel quite differently. A friend of mine bought at a Washington Independents show back in the 1930s, a painting of a drunken pirate which delights her so much it is the one permanent object in her interior. So there is simply no accounting for tastes, in Christmas gifts or anything else.

Florence Berryman, Washington Star, December 10, 1950, page C-3