Women Artists, Kauffman to Lundeberg, at the Huntington

Helen Lundeberg, Aegean Light, 1973. Collection of Bram and Sandra Dijkstra
The Huntington has recently put on view paintings by Helen Lundeberg, Belle Baranceanu, and Angelica Kauffman. The first two are loans from the Bram and Sandra Dijkstra collection, installed in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art.

Lundeberg's Aegean Light is a 1973 hard-edge abstraction. The small dark-blue rectangle represents the sea, glimpsed through a Greek townscape. Lundeberg's breakthrough style was tagged as "new classicism." Aegean Light refers to timeless Greece, though it's a Greece of the imagination. Lundeberg never travelled abroad and spent most of her adult life in Pasadena.
Belle Baranceanu, Virginia, c. 1926. Collection of Bram and Sandra Dijkstra
Like Lundeberg, Belle Baranceanu was a Chicagoan who moved to So. Cal. (on the theory that "in California, it's easier to be poor.") Her WPA murals in San Diego have assured her a regional reputation. Bram Dijkstra has championed Baranceanu as a significant modernist. Of Romanian-Jewish ancestry, Baranceanu lived in an African-American neighborhood of Chicago. Virginia, about 1926, is a rethinking of European modernism applied to what would be called the American Scene.

In the Huntington Gallery is Angelica Kauffman's 1795 Portrait of Barbara Dall'Armi, a gift from the John and Mary Ann Sturgeon collection. The sitter was the wife of a Monaco businessman. A late work from the Swiss artist's time in Rome, in its original frame, it was auctioned at Sotheby's London in 2005 for £48,000.

Kauffman made her name with neoclassical history paintings. The Huntington bought one example—with an amusingly long-winded title—in 2001. But Kauffman is now admired at least as much for her portraits of women. When Kauffman died in Rome, in 1807, Canova directed her funeral.
Angelica Kauffman, Portrait of Barbara Dall'Armi, 1795

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