Where's the Rest of Florida?

The Boca Raton Museum's "All Florida Invitational" doesn't live up to its name

The exhibition hits its high points with Boat and another nearby Davison, a huge charcoal on paper called A Leg to Stand On (1995). At first glance it appears to be a portrait of a fleshy nude man with another figure wrapped around him. But the image gets more ambiguous upon closer inspection. Only one leg and arm of the figure in the rear are visible, although what seems to be the extended left arm of the man in front is positioned in such a way that it could also belong to the figure draped around him. Either way, the parts don't add up to two people, which gives the piece a fascinating instability.

While you're at the "All Florida Invitational," you'll probably be tempted to stroll back to the rear first-floor galleries, where you'll find "Boca Raton Collects: The Modernist Spirit Within Private Collections," featuring about 50 pieces from the collections of Gabriel Auerbach and Mr. and Mrs. Eli Plotch.

It's an oh-so-tasteful show that's also a bit bland. A straightforward, impressionist-style portrait of The Artist's Wife and Daughter (c. 1920) by William James Glackens stands out near the entrance, and a pleasing Thomas Hart Benton ink drawing of a female nude called The Apple of Discord (1947) is tucked away in back.

Gary Bolding's Self Portrait in Front of a Brice Marden Painting (1995-96) is one of the strongest works in the invitational
Gary Bolding's Self Portrait in Front of a Brice Marden Painting (1995-96) is one of the strongest works in the invitational

Details

On display through September 2, 561-392-2500
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Mizner Park, 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

But the real treasure here is an uncharacteristically small 1862 oil called The Fishing Fleet by Albert Bierstadt, who was born in Germany but moved to America as a child and specialized in grandly romantic visions of his adopted country. Here he turns his eye for the nuances of sunlight to a shore at sunrise, and the results are breathtaking. It's easily the best thing in "Boca Raton Collects" and just as easily a match for the best pieces in the "50th Annual All Florida Invitational."

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