03/15/1982 at 01:00 AM EST
Wores, a San Francisco-born American Impressionist painter who died in 1939 at age 81, was celebrated during his life. But his reputation languished after his death until 1967, when two San Francisco brothers, Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson, visited Wores' widow, a friend of their mother's. She had 100 of her husband's paintings in her private gallery. Inspired, the brothers rounded up Wores paintings from private collections, then donated them to museums and colleges. His work now hangs everywhere from the White House to every major California art museum. Wores painted in Europe, Hawaii, Japan, Samoa and the American Southwest as well as California. This show's 92 pieces span 52 years, with sweeping landscapes as well as portraits. Wores had his limitations; he left San Francisco in disgust over such avant-garde movements as Dadaism and settled in the Santa Cruz Mountains. There, he said, "I can breathe the wholesome mountain air unpolluted by poisonous germs of diseased art." But his own bold use of color and light makes a revival of interest in his work seem more than worthwhile. This retrospective, mounted in 1980 by the Shensons and the Huntsville, Ala. Museum of Art, is at the Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City through March 28. It will be in Shreveport, La., Baton Rouge, La., Jacksonville, Fla., Bridgeport, Conn. and Lafayette, Ind. later this year.