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1/16/96

Two new exhibitions at Stanford Art Gallery

STANFORD -- Two new exhibitions at the Art Gallery spotlight the history of photography and 20th-century abstract painting.

The Enduring Illusion: Photographs from the Stanford University Museum of Art, which opened Jan. 16 and runs through April 28, features 100 selections from the museum's permanent collection of more than 3,000 photographs. Picturing the Future: American Modernism from the Lois Q. Spreckels Collection, which opens Jan. 23 and also runs through April 28, presents 18 paintings that illustrate the development of abstract art in the United States.

The 100 photographs on display in The Enduring Illusion range in size from a minuscule print, 2-by-3 inches, to a photogram that stands 7 feet tall and 40 inches wide. There is an intriguing 1844 calotype processed in brownish tints by William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the founders of the art. Another historic memento is a letter written from Stanford in the 1890s and illustrated with seven tiny cyanotypes, or so-called "blueprints."

Well-known photographers whose work is on display include Julia Margaret Cameron, Berenice Abbott, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Alfred Stieglitz and Robert Frank. Younger artists also are represented, including Susan Rankaitis and Joel-Peter Witkin, whose work challenges traditional notions regarding the fundamental form and content of the art.

Picturing the Future, an exhibition of 20th-century American abstract paintings from the collection of Lois Q. Spreckels, a longtime supporter of the museum, provides a glimpse of a seldom seen chapter of art history. Although the 15 paintings, two watercolors and one gouache include the work of such prominent artists as Milton Avery and Arthur Dove, most of those on display are by lesser known painters, many of whom were first-generation immigrants.

The featured works all date from the 1920s to the '60s and suggest that some artists embraced abstraction without hesitation, while others approached it more tentatively. Many of the younger artists knew each other from art schools in New York or Paris, and also had participated in the New Deal art programs of the 1930s.

Admission to the Art Gallery, which is located on Serra Street, near Hoover Tower, is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Docent tours are available for the photography exhibition at 12:15 p.m. on Thursdays, at 2 p.m. on Sundays and by appointment. For more information, call 723-3469.

-dm-

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