Lot 48: ALVIN D. LOVING, JR. (1935 - 2006) Untitled (Hexagon Composition).
AFRICAN-AMERICAN FINE ART
October 7, 2008
New York, NY, USA
ALVIN D. LOVING, JR. (1935 - 2006)
Untitled (Hexagon Composition).
Acrylic on shaped canvas, circa 1967-69. 1370 mm; 54-inches diameter (hexagonal).
Provenance: Hudson's (The J. L. Hudson Company), Detroit, MI; private Detroit collection; acquired by a modern design collector, Michigan.
This painting is a remarkable, early example of Loving's painting from the late 1960s - shaped canvases of Minimalist geometric shapes. Inspired by Hans Hofmann and Josef Albers, Detroit-born Loving earned an MFA from the University of Michigan in 1965. Loving began hard edge painting of cubes and hexagons in 1967. Loving launched his New York career after his first one-person exhibition with Gertrude Kasle gallery in Detroit in 1969. Gertrude Kasle provide Loving with letters of introduction to Harold Hart of Martha Jackson Gallery and Steven Wilde and Bert Walker, curators at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
In 1969, Loving enjoyed extraordinary success - a critically acclaimed, one-person exhibition at the Whitney. Loving was the first of a group of African-American artists whose work was shown at the Whitney during the 1970s, including Frank Bowling, Frederick Eversley, Melvin Edwards and Alma Thomas - all, except Edwards, were abstract painters. The Whitney exhibition led to the museum purchase of the painting Rational Irrationalism, private sales of all the other works and his signing with William Zierler gallery.
Despite being prolific, we have located only a few paintings from the 1960s. Loving only continued this hard edge abstraction for one more year. Inspired by an exhibition of abstract design in quilts at the Whitney Museum, Sharon Patton tells how Loving cut up 60 of these canvases to start his new constructive phase in 1971. Swann Galleries offered the first Loving Minimalist abstract painting at auction on February 19, 2008. Patton p. 225.
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