The Holly Solomon Gallery is best known as a champion of Pattern and Decoration: the outsize, brashly colored pictures which take their kitschy images from flowered wallpaper and 1950s “moderne” design. Pattern-and-Decoration paintings look bold, up-to-the-second, and there is something appealing in the artists’ fondness for the slightly deranged variations on great design ideas to which modern mass culture has sometimes given birth. The paintings, though, have no magic. They feel listless, enervated, no doubt because the artists are grabbing at effects without transforming those effects into aesthetic experiences—experiences of form. What Holly Solomon stands for might be called feel-good painting: it jazzes up the flatness of modernist pictorial space without giving any meaning or new beauty to that kind of space.

Holly Solomon has now mounted a show of works by Raoul Dufy—the French painter, best...

 
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