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Lot 136: CHARLES WHITE (1918 - 1979) J'Accuse! No. 10 (Negro Woman).Platinum House
February 16, 2012
New York, NY, USALive Auction
CHARLES WHITE (1918 - 1979)
J'Accuse! No. 10 (Negro Woman).
Charcoal on paper, 1966. 711x711 mm; 28x28 inches (tondo, image); 864x864 mm; 34x34 inches (sheet). Signed and dated in pencil, lower right recto. Signed and inscribed with the artist's Altadena, CA address, upper left verso.
With--a copy of the 1966 Ebony magazine with a detail of the drawing featured on the cover.
Provenance: the artist; collection of John H. Johnson of Johnson Publishing Co., Chicago; private Chicago collection.
Illustrated: Benjamin Horowitz, Images of Dignity: The Drawings of Charles White, p. 116; Ebony Magazine, August, 1966, front cover (detail).
This is the first of the artist's important works from his J'Accuse series to come to auction. In using the famous title of Émile Zola's article against anti-Semitism in the Dreyfus Affair, White instead references the racism, discrimination and oppression faceed by African Americans. Yet the men, women and children he depicted in the series were proud and strong. The pages of Ebony's special issue, "The Negro Woman," describe how African-American women in the 1960s were beginning to defy the female roles and stereotypes of the era.
White's social realism of the 1940s found a new voice in the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s with this series of 18 drawings. White had also found a new generation of artists to connect with when he began teaching at the Otis Art Institute in 1965. His students included David Hammons, Suzanne Jackson, Alonzo Davis, Dan Concholar and Timothy Washington. White was also continuing his theme of strong, heroic women--having completed his iconic and monumental drawing General Moses (Harriet Tubman) for the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1965. Jones p. 17.