A group exhibition of paintings from the 19th and early 20th centuries is a veritable treasure trove of the kind of art most people dream of living with. Gentle reminders of a time when civilization seemed a bit more, well, civilized, these lyrical pictures have the soothing charm of lemonade on a warm, lazy afternoon.
Included are a pastel sketch of barren trees by Joseph Stella, a small bronze figurine by John Singer Sargent, a portrait of a somber young male acrobat by Walt Kuhn, and William Glackens' soft, rolling landscape depicting cotton ball clouds drifting through a Chinese blue sky. Nestled among the still lifes and genre scenes are two major gems: Thomas Hart Benton's "Two Steers and a Windmill," a watercolor depicting exactly that, has a simplicity and grace that invests it with heartbreaking beauty. Reginald Marsh offers "Bathers," a small painting of a man and a woman relaxing at the beach. Marsh is unrivaled in his ability to convey the sweet, shabby, sexiness of 1930s urban America, and this small canvas is a first-class example of his work. (Terry Delapp Gallery, 800 N. La Cienega Blvd., to Nov. 30.)