Lot 23: CHARLES WHITE (1918 - 1979) Native Son.

Swann Auction Galleries

October 8, 2009, 2:30 PM EST
New York, NY, US
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Description: CHARLES WHITE (1918 - 1979)
Native Son.

Tempera on cream cardstock, 1941. 215x279 mm; 8 1/2x11 inches. Signed and dated in tempera, lower right.

Provenance: John Gray, Chicago; private collection, New York. With a handwritten label inscribed with the owner's name and the title.

One of the earliest paintings by the artist to come to auction, Native Son is a striking social-realist work inspired by the popular 1940 Richard Wright novel of the same name. A pen and ink drawing from 1942, also entitled Native Son, is in the collection of Howard University. It is also closely related to the 1941 oil painting, Spiritual, in the collection of the Southside Community Art Center, and the 1942 oil painting, This, My Brother, in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, which is also related to a literary work--the same-titled novel by John Rood. In each of these works, White relates the themes of entrapment and helplessness of African Americans in a solitary, heroic figure raising his exaggerated forearms.
Condition Report: Very small pieces of paper and glue adhered at the top edge of the painting from an old over mat. The 1- to 1 1/2- margins have glue and paper remants around the image. The back of the cardstock is completely skinned - with layers removed where it once was apparently laid down. Some of the margins are subsequently thin with just the top layer of cream paper. Otherwise in good condition, with no scratches or losses in the image.


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