Those summer art shows. A seasonal change takes place in New York's art galleries at this time of year. Exhibitions tend to fall into categories - group, new-talent, and invitational. And some sculpture manages to get outdoors, where summer makes it fun to be.

END-OF-SEASON and summer shows are among the most hallowed traditions of the New York art world. They usually fall into one of three categories: The group show consisting of one or two pieces by each of a gallery's artists.

The new-talent exhibition focusing on the younger painters and sculptors a dealer is thinking of signing on.

The invitational show in which well-known artists represented by other, generally more prestigious galleries, are invited to participate.

On the other hand, galleries handling old and more recent masters usually take advantage of June and July to display choice items from their inventory in a last-minute sales push before August vacation.

Not surprisingly, considering its record, the CDS Gallery here has mounted one of this year's best end-of-season presentations. It's an exhibition of recent work by 12 painters and one sculptor from six countries, many of whom were first shown in New York by this gallery.

Some are well known (Hedda Sterne, Adja Yunkers). Others have just ``arrived'' (Peter Booth, Jacobo Borges, Stephen de Staebler, Warren Rohrer). And a few are definitely on their way up (Graham Campbell, Jim Peters, Robert Mason).

But all have a touch of something special and more than hold their own in this mixed but distinguished company.

Jim Peters steals the show. A graduate of both the United States Naval Academy and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (from which he received an MS in nuclear engineering in 1969), Peters decided finally that art was what he wanted. His first major exposure was through the 1985 Exxon National Exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, which he came close to dominating, and which brought him to the attention of the art world at large.

His ``Untitled (Reclining Figure)'' and his other painting included here are truly impressive. Both are unabashedly figurative, but both, because they utilize a wide variety of formal and technical devices, transcend most categories and end up unique stylistically.

At CDS Gallery, 13 East 75th Street, through July 27.

Specialist in American art

The Jordan-Volpe Gallery, which specializes in late 19th- and early 20th-century American art, has assembled a mixed bag of good-to-excellent paintings, sculptures, watercolors, and drawings for its summer offering.

Dominating the collection are Edwin Dickinson's well-known ``The Cello Player'' of 1924-26, a major work in a somber key by one of America's most underrated 20th-century painters, and Marsden Hartley's powerful 1923 oil ``Winding Road.'' Both are of museum quality and are among the strongest works on view along Madison Avenue at this time.

Also outstanding are a rather brooding landscape by George Inness, a tiny Aaron Shattuck floral that puts most larger and more complex flower paintings to shame, and two items by Joseph Stella - a small still life in oils and a dramatically simplified line drawing of a sleeping cat.

The Jordan-Volpe Gallery, 958 Madison Avenue, will remain open all summer.

Schmidt Bingham Gallery

``Beyond Observation,'' the Schmidt Bingham Gallery's summer show, includes works by Dozier Bell, Morris Graves, Alan Magee, Robert Rasely, and Joyce Treiman. Graves, who has just joined this gallery, is represented by both older and more recent paintings and drawings; Treiman by several pieces, including a remarkable series of eight tiny wash drawings; Magee by a number of his sensitive works on paper; Rasely by a group of his fanciful oils and pencil studies; and Bell by recent paintings and gouache collages.

At the Schmidt Bingham Gallery, 41 West 57th Street, through Aug. 14.

Five centuries of French drawing

Although it cannot be classified as an end-of-season show, the exhibition of French drawings from 1400 to 1900 at the Drawing Center here will make any visit to SoHo this summer particularly worthwhile.

Not only does this selection of masterworks from the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm include some very fine drawings, its presentation gives the viewer a valuable and somewhat novel glimpse into the history of French art.

The 121 drawings by 73 artists range from rough sketches to highly polished studies and run the gamut from works executed by relatively obscure figures to such giants as Poussin, Watteau, Corot, Degas, and C'ezanne.

At the Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, through July 22.

Sculpture garden in prospect

Even though it won't open officially until Aug. 1, the Metropolitan Museum's new 10,000-square-foot sculpture garden on top of the just-opened Lila Acheson Wallace Wing is the perfect setting for summer viewing.

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, paved in granite and edged with planters, overlooks Central Park with a dramatic view of the New York skyline.

Its initial display includes works by Louise Bourgeois, Anthony Caro, Reuben Nakian, Gerard Marcks, David Smith, and a number of others.

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