Rico Lebrun, Painter of a West on Fire
|Rico Lebrun, Vertical Composition, 1945. Collection of Sandra and Bram Dijkstra|
The Huntington's Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art is showing Rico Lebrun's Vertical Composition (1945), a loan from the collection of Sandra and Bram Dijkstra. In 1945, while hiking in the Santa Ynez Valley, Lebrun noted the debris left by brush fires: charred and melted axles, wheels, and farm equipment. This led to a series of expressionistic paintings that were parsed as reactions to the Holocaust and nuclear war. Today the connection to Western wildfires adds another apocalyptic note.
Lebrun was one of the first L.A.-based modernists to achieve a national reputation. The 1960s burgeoning of L.A. art pushed him off the radar. LACMA acquired its first Lebrun painting two years ago.