FRENCH MASTERS LIKE Ingres and Delacroix don't turn up often in storefront galleries. But drawings by each of them are currently on view and for sale in an unprepossessing new establishment called Jan G. Milner Fine Art Investment Inc. at 1670 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Formerly a private dealer in London and New York, Milner opened his Washington shop in mid-October with stock largely inherited through a family line that includes a British viscount and a German diplomat. The gallery walls are literally covered with works by 19th-century French academics -- mostly drawings, but a few paintings as well. On the average, the art is one or two notches below museum quality, but that means ripe pickings -- and decent prices -- for collectors who know what they're doing.
For those who like to play it safe, there are works by big 19th-century names, the earliest being a sheet of studies of Greek vases by Jacques Louis David (1748-1825), court painter to Napoleon. There are two drawings by Ingres (a portrait of an Engish gentleman and a very pale sketch of a seated nude woman dressing a child), two studies by Jean Leon Gerome, and an ink drawing of soldiers resting during the Franco-Prussian War by Jean L.E. Meissonier. Eugene Carriere, a major influence on Rodin, is represented by a heroic bearded head in chalk on blue paper. One of the most powerful pieces is a watercolor and chalk study for a painting by Theodore Chasseriau.
But some of the best works are by good artists who have slipped into various stages of oblivion: Jean Paul Laurens, for example, who is represented by a charming pencil study of a woman and E.A.A. Dehodencq, who draws like the etcher he was, and is here represented by a fine self-portrait. In addition, there are stacks of framed works on the floor and more in storage. The gallery is open 10 to 5 Tuesdays through Saturdays.
No one knows how many Latino artists are now at work in the Washington area. But one -- Francisco Alvarado-Juarez -- estimates there are hundreds, and he has taken a first step toward giving at least some of them the exposure they deserve. As volunteer director of the Galeria Inti, the energetic alternative space at 1470 Irving St. NW, Alvarado-Juarez has organized "Nuestra America: Latino Artists from the Metropolitan Area." It is a small survey show that has the usual ups and downs, but it introduces 16 artists from 11 countries, all worth looking at.
They are at various stages in their careers: semi-figurative sculptor Beatriz Blanco, for example, is well-established in her native Venezuela, though this is her first Washington show, while John Perez makes his debut here with some amusing, Picasso-influenced drawings. Styles also run the gamut, from the cool constructivism of Colombia-born Alicia Torres to the disturbing, highly charged political images of Peruvian Eduardo Ramirez. Outside the building, a large mural by young Colombian artist Ligia Becker depicts the unnerving transition from the country to the big city which so many of these artists have undergone. The show continues through Jan. 10, and gallery hours are noon to 5, Wednesdays through Fridays; 2 to 6 Saturdays. The gallery will be closed until next Wednesday.
Attention last-minute shoppers: Krainik Gallery, purveyors of low-priced 19th-century photographs, has moved into handsome new quarters at 1224 31st St., alongside the Old Print Gallery. There's something for everyone among these vintage images of Sarah Bernhardt, Queen Victoria, Charles Darwin and Buffalo Bill Cody; and places -- from New York and Yosemite in the 1890s to turn-of-the-century Odessa. Hours are Mondays through Saturdays, 10:30 to 6, and prices start at $25.