Broidy Collection boasts over 15 Lukits paintings

November 5th, 2012 - Posted by Admin

Theodore Lukits, the famous California portrait and landscape painter and legendary chief of the Lukits Academy of Fine Arts in Los Angeles, owed his initial fame to his glamorous portraits of Silent Film actresses. But his pastel landscapes established him as a leader of the California Plein-Air movement, and he ultimately produced over one thousand sketches on location, from the Grand Canyon to the Sierra Nevada, Death Valley to the Mojave Desert.

Lukits’ work is widely collected today and has been exhibited extensively over the past several decades. One of the largest private holdings of his work resides with Los Angeles financier and philanthropist Elliott Broidy – indeed, the Broidy Collection boasts over 15 Lukits paintings.
Mr. Broidy recently allowed a small delegation to view his collection of Lukits pieces, which comprise part of an extensive Plein-Air compilation that also features works by Marion Kavanagh Wachtel, Paul Lauritz, Elmer Wachtel, Soren Emil Carlsen, Benjamin Chambers Brown, Maurice Braun, Hanson Duvall Puthuff, and Granville Seymour Redmond, among others.

Among the Lukits pastels in Broidy’s collection, some of the most striking are his sunset pieces. Lukits biographer and former student Jeffrey Morseburg has written that “[a]mong his fellow painters, Theodore Lukits was especially known as a painter of sunsets. He loved transcribing the most transitory of nature’s moods, and capturing the setting sun – with intense colors that may only remain on the horizon for a few minutes – was a challenge that he embraced. When a day was cloudy, Lukits liked to rush to a good vantage point where he could capture the drama of the brilliant color coming through the clouds. On other days Lukits would rise early so that he could capture the bright light of the rising sun. These sunrises and sunsets reveal Theodore Lukits at his best.” Orange Glow, Trees at Dusk, and The Last Rays are astounding with their arresting orange, while Desert Glow and Santa Monica Sunset are striking with a pink luminescence that has persisted marvelously over the decades.

The Elliott Broidy collection also features Lukits cloudscapes such as Sun’s Presence and Bright Sky. Morseburg writes that:

“Theodore Lukits loved drama and so he rushed out to paint when cloudy skies allowed him to cloak the sun or moon in a misty veil. When he was high in the mountains, he spent many nights painting the moon as the cloud cover alternately revealed and covered the golden orb. While John Constable (1776-1837) and a few other painters had done cloudscapes in series, few – if any – did the number of works devoted solely to the depiction of the sky. These moody, often haunting scenes show Lukits’ appreciation for nature’s most fleeting moments.”

Aspen Grove and Peaks on the Horizon hue more toward realism:

But perhaps the most significant Lukits piece in the Elliott Broidy collection is not a pastel but a 24” x 30” oil on panel piece circa 1929 entitled Opalescence, which depicts a magical interaction between ocean, sun, and stormcloud. A dramatic only-in-California moment with trademark Lukits flair.

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