Frank Lloyd’s blog

Art, architecture and the people that I know.

The Natural

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FKN097Some athletes are legendary because of their innate ability—just think of Ken Griffey Jr. with his gorgeous swing, and the perfection of his follow-through. Sure, lots of players have hit home runs, but that kind effortless movement was truly a thing of beauty.

According to all reports, Craig Kauffman was just as naturally gifted as a young artist. He participated in his first professional group show at age 19, in the best gallery in Los Angeles, Felix Landau. By 1953, still approaching his 21st birthday, Kauffman had his first one-man show at Landau. He also was given a praising review in the national magazine Art News by a leading critic, Jules Langsner, who wrote:

“The exhibition splits into two distinct groups: soft, serene, cerebrally-organized abstractions (like the Ode to Crafts series) and the more recent, highly charged linear evolutions on the other. Either way, Kauffman is precociously gifted.”1

Just five years later, when the seminal Ferus gallery had opened, Kauffman was included in another group exhibition, this time a painting survey of Northern and Southern California abstract artists. While noting the similarities and differences of the two camps, Langsner again singled out Kauffman for praise:

“Craig Kauffman is very much in evidence with an effervescent painting, also untitled. Here vertical rectangles of vivid reds, yellow, blues shimmer on a field of white. Full of bounce, the picture has the added interest of subtlety of line. Exhibiting infrequently, this artist has not received his due”.2

So, it’s not surprising that, after Kauffman’s passing, Philippino_Orchids_1989_Det_1 copyin another group exhibition currently on view at Samuel Freeman gallery, the Los Angeles Times Critic Christopher Knight should single out Kauffman’s work at the conclusion of his review:

“He navigates the void using a delicate, dappled line that constructs a sturdy visual architecture from the most fragile subject matter — orchids, a tropical flower with thousands of taxonomies. His still lifes catalog exotic blooms that are tall, willowy and weird. Kauffman has been called the most naturally gifted painter produced in the first generation of major postwar Los Angeles artists, and here it’s easy to see why.”3

1 Langsner, Jules. “Art News from Los Angeles.” Art News 51, no. 9 (January 1953), p. 53.

2 Langsner, Jules. “Art News from Los Angeles.” Art News 56, no. 10 (February 1958), pp. 47–50.

3 Knight, Christopher. “Uncharted seas in ‘How to Build a Foghorn’ at Samuel Freeman.” Los Angeles Times  (August 9, 2016)

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One Response

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  1. Dear Frank, Craig Kauffman was one of the few real gentlemen I have ever meet in the art world. His production was an expansion of that innate, natural elegance. Thank you for the many years of
    unparalleled experience your gallery gave me.

    Catherine A. Parr

    August 25, 2016 at 6:09 pm


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