Two solo exhibitions
From Mongolian Grasslands: Recent Works
1st Major Retrospective Since the Museum of the City of New York in 1997
From Expressionism to Abstraction: Paintings from 1935-1965
September 11 – November 5, 2004
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 11, 6:00 – 9:00 pm

612 North Almont Dr., West Hollywood, CA 90069
Contact, Benjamin Trigano
Tel, 310.550.0050, fax, 310.550.0605
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Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 5pm, and by appointment

Maurice Sievan, Eppergus (1962), oil-acrylic on canvas, 55 x 106.5 inches

MB Fine Art Los Angeles is pleased to announce a retrospective exhibition of paintings by Maurice Sievan, an artist of the New York School, whom Clement Greenberg hailed as “one of the best or better painters in this country.” This is the first major retrospective of his work since the Museum of the City of New York in 1997.

Sievan’s career is the history of the New York art world itself, spanning the turn of the 20th century through the 1970s. Born in the Russian Ukraine in 1898, Sievan’s family immigrated to New York City in 1908 to escape anti-Semitic pogroms. Sievan then embarked on a long, distinguished, and prolific career as an artist, from his start as a student at the National Academy of Art in the early teens, to becoming a celebrated landscape and figurative painter, WPA artist, and finally, a seminal abstract artist as contemporary of Rothko, Gottlieb, Still, and other painters of the New York School in the 1950s.

Sievan’s Manhattan scenes from 1935-1939 effectively capture the mood of the Depression, with a pattern of distancing and isolation, by establishing a deep foreground that leads to a lone, single building or figure. Sievan’s 1940 transition from Manhattan to a single-family home located in Flushing, Queens introduced him to a pictorial theme that would preoccupy him for more than a decade: the uncelebrated landscapes of the outer borough, typified by tree-lined streets, low-rise housing, nondescript shopping areas and ubiquitous automobile traffic. After a 1945 show of these works at Brandt Gallery in Manhattan (then run by Betty Parsons), these moody and curiously depopulated pictures earned him the reputation—albeit unsought—as the “poet laureate of suburbia,” after an article by distinguished art critic Emily Gernauer compared his works to Pissarro and Sisley, saying that “he [sees] nature as much as they did, but interprets it in terms singularly personal.”

His signature abstractions of the 50s and 60s also presented here represent some of his finest and most well known works. Most of these works were painted in Rothko’s Provincetown studio, who was on of Sievan’s close friend and colleagues. The Museum of Modern Art purchased his masterpiece from this series, Oompalik, in 1963. Pre-figuring the color-field painters of the 1970s, Sievan’s large abstractions resonate with awesome, subtle beauty and unusual harmonies. Of these powerful works of depth, individuality, and integrity Ivan Karp said, “Here was an artist who occupied a particular and very special place in the history of American painting, and who is worthy of public acclaim for his singular achievement.”


Xue Mo, The Blue Pillow (2004), oil on canvas, 47 x 59 inches

MB Fine Art is pleased to introduce Chinese artist Xue Mo with an exhibition of her recent works entitled “From Mongolian Grasslands.” This is the first exhibition of her work in Los Angeles.

Like many Chinese artists in the 20th century, Xue paints the human figure as a portrayal and exploration of the unending and sometimes paradoxical relationship between man, society and nature. Painting the figure is actually a return to the traditional for the Chinese, as landscapes began to dominate the scene after the 11th century. By embracing the methods of the past, yet using a contemporary approach, Xue portrays the essence of the simple, pure, natural and almost mystical Mongolian living in the untouched grasslands. The result is meditative contemplation that transcends time, culture and age.

“From Mongolian Grasslands” shows serene and dignified Oriental women reclining confidently in the foreground. Behind them, the vast, peaceful, rolling Inner Mongolian landscape stretches almost endlessly. She keeps the two distant, and at first glance, one might think they could stand alone. However, the juxtaposition of the composition pulls the two together by relating the natural and desired dependence between the people and the land, while at the same time showing the constant struggle between the traditional and the modern. The women look as if they are dreaming, and the landscape behind reveals the visions in their head. Xue wants us to return to the beauty and tranquility of Nature, to realize and accept its ability to release one’s inner freedom.

Described as indicative of the “Early Renaissance,” as a “Chinese Vermeer” and “Medici-like,” Xue’s paintings evoke a timeless elegance, a return to pure painting and in turn, a contemporary interpretation of formalism. Born in 1966 in Inner Mongolia, Xue began drawing landscapes and portraits of her family at the early age of eight. In 1991, she received a B.A. in Fine Art at Meitan Normal College in Beijing. During her tenure at school, she was twice awarded a bronze medal for paintings she exhibited at two national fine art exhibitions: the First China Folk Art Competition in 1989 and the First China Meitan Art Festival in 1990. After a six-year teaching career at her alma mater, Xue dedicated herself full time to painting. Since then she has become well established in China and has become internationally exhibited in Melbourne, Vancouver, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and the U.S.

Please contact the gallery for more information.

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