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Auction Description for Swann: AFRICAN-AMERICAN FINE ART
Viewing Notes:
Exhibition & Sale Schedule: Sale 2323 - Point of Departure: Postwar African-American Fine Art - begins at 2:30pm in New York on Thurs, October 3. All material in Sale 2323 on display at our premises in New York City, 104 East 25th Street, as follows: Sat, Sept 28: Noon to 5pm - Mon, Sept 30: 10am to 6pm - Tues, Oct 1: 10am to 6pm - Wed, Oct 2: 10am to 6pm - Thurs, Oct 3: 10am to Noon.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN FINE ART

(149 Lots)

by Swann Auction Galleries

Platinum House

149 lots with images

October 3, 2013

Live Auction

104 East 25th Street

New York, NY, 10010 USA

Phone: 212.254.4710

Fax: 212 979 1017

Email: swann@swanngalleries.com

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SARGENT CLAUDE JOHNSON (1888 - 1967) Dancer.

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Description: SARGENT CLAUDE JOHNSON (1888 - 1967) Dancer. Varnished terracotta, circa 1938-40. Approximately 254x152x178 mm; 10x6x7 inches (including base). Signed at rear edge, just above the wood base. Provenance: private collection, Oakland, CA; private collection, San Francisco. With an old typed label, with the title, affixed to the underside of the base. This striking terracotta is an extremely scarce modernist figure by Sargent Johnson. This experimental work demonstrates Johnson's increased interest in European modernism and the abstraction of the figure by the 1940s. This work is a radical departure from the naturalist heads that Johnson exhibited throughout the 1930s at the Harmon Foundation. It shows the continued influence of his work with San Francisco sculptor Beniamino Bufano through the late 1930s and the WPA, particularly with his use of simplified, curved shapes. This work, while figurative, is strikingly organic and abstracted, and has much in common with Johnson's graphic work from the period, like his 1938 cubist lithograph, White and Black, and WPA murals at the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building in San Francisco. The massing of forms around a curvilinear base is also found in his painted terracotta, Mother and Child, 1947.

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ROBERT BLACKBURN (1920 - 2003) Refugees.

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Description: ROBERT BLACKBURN (1920 - 2003) Refugees. Lithograph on cream wove paper, circa 1938. 286x403 mm; 11 1/4x15 7/8 inches, full margins. Signed, titled and numbered 8/8 in pencil, lower margin. Robert Blackburn printed Refugees, alternately titled People in a Boat, at the Harlem Community Art Center, where he studied lithography with printmaker Riva Helfond. The scarce, early print was then illustrated in DeWitt Clinton High School's literary magazine, The Magpie, in June 1938, where Blackburn attended with James Baldwin and Richard Avedon. Other impressions of this print are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the North Carolina Central University Art Museum, Durham, NC. This is the first known impression of this lithograph to appear at auction.

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HUGHIE LEE-SMITH (1915 - 1999) Untitled (Two Workers with Shovels).

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Description: HUGHIE LEE-SMITH (1915 - 1999) Untitled (Two Workers with Shovels). Pen and ink on cream sketch paper, circa 1940. 229x191 mm; 9x7 1/2 inches, folded margins. Signed in ink, lower right. Provenance: the artist; thence by descent to the current owner. In this early work on paper, figurative artist Hughie Lee-Smith reveals an unusual experimentation with abstraction--perhaps from the influence of fellow WPA artists working in Cleveland and Chicago at this time.

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JOSEPH DELANEY (1904 - 1981) Untitled (Union Square, New York).

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Description: JOSEPH DELANEY (1904 - 1981) Untitled (Union Square, New York). Watercolor on cream wove paper, laid down to cardstock, circa 1940. 254x356 mm; 10x14 inches. Signed in watercolor, lower right. Provenance: private collection.

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CHARLES ALSTON (1907 - 1977) Untitled (Barns).

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Description: CHARLES ALSTON (1907 - 1977) Untitled (Barns). Watercolor on wove paper, 1941. 356x508 mm; 14x20 inches. Signed and dated in pencil, lower right. Provenance: Dorsey's Gallery, Brooklyn; private collection, NY. This bright watercolor is from Alston's Rosenwald Foundation scholarship period when he traveled through the South between 1940 and 1941. According to Daniel Schulman, Alston's Rosenwald Fellowship project planned "to help do for the South in art what Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton accomplished for the Middle West." Unfortunately, Alston's Southern plans were cut short by his enlistment into the army in 1942. Alston produced vivid imagery during this Rosenwald period while traveling through the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Georgia. In Durham, NC, he followed Giles Hubert, an inspector of the Farm Security Administration, to many farm sites such as this one, and then ended up in Atlanta. There, Alston found a studio in Atlanta University's library, where he lived with Hale Woodruff. Kenkeleba p. 22; Schulman pp. 90-91.

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CHARLES ALSTON (1907 - 1977) Untitled (California Landscape).

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Description: CHARLES ALSTON (1907 - 1977) Untitled (California Landscape). Watercolor on wove paper, circa 1948. 470x572 mm; 18 1/2x22 1/2 inches. Signed in pencil, lower center. Provenance: Dorsey's Gallery, Brooklyn; private collection, NY. This handsome, bucolic view is one of the largest Alston watercolors we have seen from the 1940s. Charles Alston and his friend Hale Woodruff did many landscape studies and sketches during an exploratory trip to California in 1948. Both artists were preparing for the pair of large historical murals they would complete the following year for Los Angeles' Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company. However, unlike most watercolors from this period, this landscape is a complex composition with a great balance of detail and contrast.

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ROMARE BEARDEN (1911 - 1988) Christ Healing the Sick.

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Description: ROMARE BEARDEN (1911 - 1988) Christ Healing the Sick. Oil on gessoed masonite panel, mounted on wood board, 1945. 300x248 mm; 11 3/4x9 3/4 inches. Initialed in oil, upper right. Provenance: Kootz Gallery, New York; Far Gallery, New York, with the label on the frame back; private collection, Pennsylvania; thence by descent to the current owner. This stained glass-like oil painting by Romare Bearden is an excellent and early example of his postwar painting. Here, the artist deftly synthesizes his interests in both the Old Masters and Cubism. This oil is part of his important Passion of Christ series exhibited at New York's Kootz Gallery in October of 1945,--11 watercolors and 11 oils. The show was a sensation both critically and commercially, with the majority of the works selling, and a purchase that December by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, of He is Arisen. Bearden's Madonna and Child was also included in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting in November 1945. Another work from this period, the watercolor Golgotha, 1945, is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Schwartzman pp. 132 and 137.

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HENRY BOZEMAN JONES (1889 - 1973) Untitled (Romantic Head).

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Description: HENRY BOZEMAN JONES (1889 - 1973) Untitled (Romantic Head). Oil on masonite board, circa 1940-50. 610x508 mm; 24x20 inches. Signed in oil, lower right. Provenance: private Florida collection. This painting is an unusual modern example by this Philadelphia artist whose long career spanned from the Harlem Renaissance to the postwar period. He studied at the School of Pedagogy and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1908-1910. Jones earned a living as a children's book illustrator, but was also a printmaker and painter contemporary with Allan Freelon, and exhibited his work in the Harmon Foundation exhibitions of 1929, 1930, 1931 and 1933. According to Against the Odds: African-American Artists and the Harmon Foundation, his work changed from an academic style to a more colorful, modern period in 1937 after a sketching trip to North Carolina and the Bahamas. His later works were often of romantic and mystical themes, like the 1947 linoleum cut, Dance of the Rib, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is only the second painting of his to come to auction that is not a landscape--in a similar palette and abstract, his undated Jazz Quartet sold at Sotheby's, New York on September 13, 2006.

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CHARLES SEBREE (1924 - 1985) Untitled (Two Figures).

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Description: CHARLES SEBREE (1924 - 1985) Untitled (Two Figures). Oil on gessoed masonite board, circa 1945-50. 305x254 mm; 12x10 inches. Signed in oil, lower right. Provenance: private New York collection. Charles Sebree is known for these enigmatic paintings of romantic, harlequin-like figures inspired by the theater and the art of Rouault and Picasso. Born in Kentucky, Sebree emerged as a young member of the Chicago art scene in the 1930s. With his Englewood High School classmates Margaret Burroughs, Eldzier Cortor and Charles White, he studied under George Neal as a member of the Arts Crafts Guild. Sebree worked for the Illinois Federal Art Project in the WPA easel painting division from 1936-38. He also taught at the Southside Community Art Center with Burroughs, Cortor and White.

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CHARLES WHITE (1918 - 1979) Hope Imprisoned.

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Description: CHARLES WHITE (1918 - 1979) Hope Imprisoned. Tempera on cream wove paper, 1946. 660x510 mm; 26x20 inches. Signed and dated in tempera, lower right. Provenance: private New York collection; thence by descent to the current owner. This striking work on paper is a significant painting by Charles White. It is closely related in composition to Woman of Sorrows, colored inks, 1947, Howard University, and in paint handling to Indian Woman, tempera, 1946, private collection (see Finkelstein, ill. 13-14). These and other works such as Mater Dolorosa, oil on canvas, 1946, ACA Galleries, each portray an isolated and sorrowful woman. In the mid-to-late 1940s, Charles White popularized the plight of the downtrodden depicted with graphic social realism. His anonymous subjects are imbued with an intense level of emotion. The everyday heroism of African Americans overcoming the great struggles of the pre-Civil Rights era are found in these strong, dignified figures. At the same time, White was fighting the effects of tuberculosis, which he contracted during his brief army service in 1944. Despite the upheaval of his convalescence and the war itself, this was an incredibly important creative period for the artist. By the end of 1946, he traveled to Mexico to study lithography, where he created similar images, such as the lithograph Awaiting His Return. The following year, White achieved his first solo exhibition at ACA Gallery in New York.

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ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) In Phyllis Wheatley I proved intellectual equality in the midst of slavery.

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Description: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) In Phyllis Wheatley I proved intellectual equality in the midst of slavery. Linoleum cut on wove paper, 1946. 232x152 mm; 9 1/8x6 inches, full margins. Signed, titled, dated and numbered 19/20 in pencil, lower margin. Printed at Robert Blackburn's Printmaking Workshop, New York, 1989. From the I am the Black Woman series.

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CHARLES WHITE (1918 - 1979) We Have Been Believers.

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Description: CHARLES WHITE (1918 - 1979) We Have Been Believers. Lithograph on cream wove paper, 1949. 296x276 mm; 11 5/8x10 3/4 inches, full margins. Edition of approximately 30. Signed and dated in pencil, lower margin. Titled and inscribed "ed. 30" in pencil in a different hand, lower margin. Printed by Robert Blackburn, New York. In 1949, Blackburn was Charles White's primary printer in New York. The original charcoal drawing, the basis for the print, is found in the Walter O. Evans Collection. The drawing was inspired by a poem of the same title by Margaret Walker about the sustaining power of African-American religious faith. Gedeon Ea8.

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ROY DECARAVA (1919 - 2009) Adolescent (Close Up).

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Description: ROY DECARAVA (1919 - 2009) Adolescent (Close Up). Color screenprint, 1949. 238x292 mm; 9 3/8x11 1/2 inches, full margins. Signed, numbered 18/32 and inscribed "Detail" in pencil, lower margin. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist by Anne Kurakin, his second wife.

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ROY DECARAVA (1919 - 2009) Tenement Clotheslines.

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Description: ROY DECARAVA (1919 - 2009) Tenement Clotheslines. Color screenprint, circa 1949. 286x237 mm; 11 1/4x9 3/8 inches, full margins. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist by Anne Kurakin, his second wife.

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THELMA JOHNSON STREAT (1911 - 1959) Totem Pole Figure.

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Description: THELMA JOHNSON STREAT (1911 - 1959) Totem Pole Figure. Color screenprint, circa 1945-50. 359x279 mm; 14 1/8x11 inches, full margins. Signed and titled in the plate, lower left. Provenance: estate of the artist, WA.

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FREDERICK D. JONES, JR. (1914 - 2004) Harlequins.

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Description: FREDERICK D. JONES, JR. (1914 - 2004) Harlequins. Watercolor on thick wove paper, 1949. 350x254 mm; 13 3/4x10 inches. Signed in watercolor, upper left. Provenance: private collection, Chicago; thence by descent to the current owner. Harlequins is a fine example of Chicago artist Fred Jones's early exploration of surrealism in the late 1940s. With the Arts Craft Guild, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago with mentor George Neal and fellow young artists Eldzier Cortor, Charles Sebree and Charles White. Jones joined this group of Chicago artists involved in the founding of the South Side Community Art Center in Bronzeville in the early 1940s. His work is found in many collections, including the Clark Atlanta University Art collection, the Minnesota Museum of Art, and the Evans-Tibbs Collection, Washington, DC.

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ROMARE BEARDEN (1911 - 1988) Untitled (Figure Study).

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Description: ROMARE BEARDEN (1911 - 1988) Untitled (Figure Study). Pencil on gessoed canvas, mounted on card, circa 1950-55. 127x76 mm; 5x3 inches. Initialed in pencil, lower right. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist, private New York collection; thence by descent to the current owner. This is a scarce example of an early pencil drawing by Bearden that reflects his interest in Cubism shortly after his visit to Paris.

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ROBERT BLACKBURN (1920 - 2003) Untitled (Cubist Composition).

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Description: ROBERT BLACKBURN (1920 - 2003) Untitled (Cubist Composition). Pencil and graphite on wove paper, circa 1950. 305x230 mm, 12x9 inches. Provenance: gift from the artist; private New York collection; purchased at Swann Galleries, February 6, 2007; private collection, Washington, DC.

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ROBERT BLACKBURN (1920 - 2003) Untitled (Modernist Still Life).

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Description: ROBERT BLACKBURN (1920 - 2003) Untitled (Modernist Still Life). Gouache on cream wove paper, circa 1948. 604x451 mm; 23 5/8x17 inches. Provenance: acquired from the artist; Adrienne E. Wheeler collection; private collection.

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HALE WOODRUFF (1900 - 1980) Girl Jumping Rope.

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Description: HALE WOODRUFF (1900 - 1980) Girl Jumping Rope. Color linoleum cut, circa 1950. 152x203 mm; 6x8 inches, full margins. Signed and titled in pencil, lower margin. In this scarce linocut, one of only two known postwar prints by Woodruff, he incorporates the figure of a girl skipping rope within an abstract composition. This dancing, bow-tie like form appears in Woodruff's abstract painting as early as Untitled, 1944, in the collection of Steven L. Jones. He also later painted this image of a child in the painting Skipping Rope, 1959, in the collection of E. T. and Auldlyn Higgins Williams, New York.

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NORMAN LEWIS (1909 - 1979) Untitled (Procession Composition).

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Description: NORMAN LEWIS (1909 - 1979) Untitled (Procession Composition). Oil and ink on paper, 1954. 483x940 mm; 19x37 inches. Signed and dated in ink, lower center. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; thence by descent to the current owner. This large and animated drawing is an excellent example of Norman Lewis's important works on paper in the early 1950s. His inventive calligraphy of small dancing figures inhabit his paintings and works on paper for the next decade. This transitional work incorporates both these newer "ritual" figures with the dry brush atmospheric technique he favored in the early 1950s, melding them into a complex promenade composition.

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NORMAN LEWIS (1909 - 1979) Untitled.

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Description: NORMAN LEWIS (1909 - 1979) Untitled. Oil on linen canvas, circa 1957. 1245x1600 mm; 49x63 inches. Signed in oil, lower left recto. Signed in oil, upper left verso. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist, New York; private collection, Chicago; thence by descent to the current owners. The original owner, now deceased, took private art lessons from Norman Lewis in Harlem as a young woman. They remained life-long friends after she moved to Chicago. According to the family, she visited him in New York in the late 1950s with the desire to acquire an oil painting for herself. She bought this large painting out of his studio. This important mid-century painting is not only a truly exceptional example of Norman Lewis's painting, but an exciting discovery. This previously unrecorded painting is one of the most significant 1950s calligraphic figure paintings by Norman Lewis that we have seen, and yet it has never been publicly exhibited. By 1957, Norman Lewis had gained national recognition, having had a series of well-received solo exhibitions at the Marian Willard Gallery, New York. His famous Migrating Birds, 1953, had won the Carnegie International Award in Painting in 1955, making him the first African-American artist to receive this prestigious prize. In 1956, Lewis was selected to represent the United States in American Artists Paint the City, an exhibition of 46 works by 36 artists in the American pavilion during the 28th Venice Biennale. Lewis joined fellow Willard Gallery artists Lionel Feininger and Mark Tobey; he and Jacob Lawrence were the only African-American artists included. He showed at the Willard Galley again in February of 1957, his sixth solo exhibition there since 1949, then spent several months traveling--visiting France, Italy, Spain and North Africa. In this painting, the artist continues his investigation of the "ritual" calligraphic figures that he began as early as 1950, while simultaneously shifting towards color field painting. This intense blue canvas reveals both fiery and cool undertones, while simultaneously obscuring and revealing a large, dense composition of figures. The owner's family recalls Lewis's inspiration was from a Moroccan experience; Lewis described the scene of a city after sunset, when little charcoal fires were lit and everyone prepared the evening meal. This work is similar with its multitude of figures to other large promenade paintings like Carnival, circa 1957, collection of the late Albert Murray, and Untitled (Tournament), late 1950s, the Sheldon Museum, Lincoln, NE. However, this work's bright palette, detail and clarity distinguishes it from other paintings of the period. Through the 1950s, Lewis navigated between Abstract Expressionism and elements of figuration in his studio. This canvas reveals his continued attention to the figure in his painting--with wonderfully expressive characterizations, and suggests a greater involvement of the artist in the balancing act between his painting tendencies. The artist wrote about the diverse forces that shaped his work in a forward to his 1954 exhibition: "Art is to me the expression of unconscious experiences common to all men, which have been strained through the artist's own peculiar associations and use of his medium. In this sense, it becomes an activity of discovery, emotional, intellectual and technical, not only for the artist, but for those who view his work."

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ELDZIER CORTOR (1916 -   ) Composition No II.

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Description: ELDZIER CORTOR (1916 - ) Composition No II. Color aquatint on cream wove paper, circa 1955-58. 324x514 mm; 12 3/4x20 1/4 inches, full margins. Signed, titled and numbered 12/15 in pencil, lower margin. We have not found another impression of this print at auction in the past 20 years. An impression of Composition No III is in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

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ALMA THOMAS (1891 - 1978) Untitled (Seated Female Nude).

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Description: ALMA THOMAS (1891 - 1978) Untitled (Seated Female Nude). Oil on thick textured, cream wove paper, circa 1958. 610x499 mm; 24x18 inches. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; private Washington, DC collection. This scarce figure study in oil is only the second nude by this important abstract painter to come to auction. Alma Thomas's still life and figurative paintings were becoming more and more abstract--by 1959, her paintings were primarily abstract compositions.

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HALE WOODRUFF (1900 - 1980) Gathering Storm (Blue Landscape).

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Description: HALE WOODRUFF (1900 - 1980) Gathering Storm (Blue Landscape). Oil on linen canvas, circa 1958-60. 1270x1016 mm; 50x40 inches. Signed in oil, lower right recto. Signed and titled "Blue Landscape" in oil, stretcher bar verso. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; private collection, New York; thence by descent to the current owner. Exhibited: Hale Woodruff: 50 Years of his Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, April 29 - June 24, 1979, with the museum label on the verso. This large, modernist canvas is an excellent example of Hale Woodruff's postwar painting in which he describes natural phenomena within the idiom of Abstract Expressionism. Here, like many other of his mid-to-late 1950s paintings, including Caprice, 1954, Woodruff interweaves larger dark forms with smaller passages of bright color. Woodruff paints with bravado, using a slashing, diagonal underpainting and drawing. Woodruff exhibited many of these abstract paintings at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York, while teaching at NYU, through the 1950s. A small oil study for this painting, End of Day, circa 1958-60, was sold at Swann Galleries on October 18, 2012.

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CHARLES ALSTON (1907 - 1977) Untitled (Abstract Composition).

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Description: CHARLES ALSTON (1907 - 1977) Untitled (Abstract Composition). Oil and sand on masonite board, 1960. 457x610 mm; 18x24 inches. Signed and dated in pencil, upper right. Provenance: Feingarten Galleries, New York; private Connecticut collection. Charles Alston painted these attractive tonal compositions--in oil, collage and works on paper--through the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1960, Alston received the Emily Lowe Memorial award for painting, and exhibited his modernist abstractions at Feingarten Gallery, New York. Alston was also one of the founding members of the Spiral Group later in the summer of 1963 with his close friends Romare Bearden and Hale Woodruff. Bearden/Henderson p. 269; Kenkeleba p. 22.

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CHARLES ALSTON (1907 - 1977) Untitled (Portrait of a Boy).

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Description: CHARLES ALSTON (1907 - 1977) Untitled (Portrait of a Boy). Watercolor and ink on cream wove paper, circa 1960. 394x254 mm; 15 1/2x10 inches. Signed in pencil, lower right. Provenance: private collection, New York.

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CHARLES ALSTON (1907 - 1977) Untitled (Mother and Child).

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Description: CHARLES ALSTON (1907 - 1977) Untitled (Mother and Child). Watercolor on cream wove paperr, circa 1960. 286x203 mm; 11 1/4x8 inches, full margins. Signed in pencil, lower right. Provenance: private collection.

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RICHARD DEMPSEY (1909 - 1987) Tranquility.

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Description: RICHARD DEMPSEY (1909 - 1987) Tranquility. Oil on masonite board, 1958. 508x610 mm; 20x24 inches. Signed in oil, lower left recto. Signed, titled and dated in ink, verso. Provenance: the estate of the artist. This urban abstraction is a striking mid-career painting by this Washington, DC painter. In 1951, Dempsey became associated with the Washington, DC school with his inclusion in the first Annual Exhibition of the Loïs Mailou Jones & Céline Tabary Studio Group, which also included Delilah Pierce and Alma Thomas. He was also included in the 10th Annual Exhibition of American Art in 1952 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, where he won the purchase award. Dempsey traveled to Haiti and Jamaica in the 1950s and '60s, and many of his later oils and watercolors are organic abstractions of the local color and scenery. However, this mid-century abstraction reflects the geometry of the city, similar to his Cityscape, also 1958, illustrated in Cedric Dover's American Negro Art, which includes several examples of his paintings.

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RICHARD HUNT (1935 -  ) Untitled (Figure and Bird Composition).

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Description: RICHARD HUNT (1935 - ) Untitled (Figure and Bird Composition). Soldered white metal and wire, circa 1955-1960. Approximately 184 mm; 7 1/4-inches high (not including wooden base). Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; thence by descent to the current owner. The original owner founded and ran the art gallery at the Ravinia Music Festival, north of Chicago, which showed Hunt's work in the late 1950s. This is one of the earliest sculptures by Hunt to come to auction, made around the time he was studying at the Art Institute of Chicago. Hunt studied the work of sculptors Julio González and David Smith, and used their direct-metal techniques with lead, steel, aluminum, copper, and bronze. In these figurative works, Hunt combined different sculptural methods to create three-dimensionality. According to the Albright Knox Art Gallery, in the 1950s, Hunt made "sculptures with what he called 'steel and space,' referring to natural organic forms such as wings, branches, floral blossoms, torsos, and rocks, as well as characters from Greek mythology." At the Art Institute of Chicago, Hunt made several mythical winged figures and birds, including the welded steel Icarus, 1956, now at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, before graduating in 1957.

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ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Head.

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Description: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Head. Terracotta, painted dark brown, 1947. Approximately 280x150x215 mm; 11x6x8 1/2 inches. Initialed "EC" at the rear lower edge. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist by Joe and Reva Bernstein, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (circa 1964-7); thence by descent to the current owners, New Mexico. The sculpture was purchased from Elizabeth Catlett by the Bernsteins while they were living in Mexico in the mid-1960s. Their families often visited each other in Mexico City and in San Miguel de Allende. Exhibited: Elizabeth Catlett: A Fifty-Year Retrospective, the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY, 1998. Illustrated: Samella Lewis, The Art of Elizabeth Catlett. Los Angeles: Handcraft Books, 1984. Front cover and p. 173; Lucinda Gedeon, Elizabeth Catlett: A Fifty-Year Retrospective, p. 45. This exquisite sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett is an important and iconic work of art, made at the beginning of a great period of creativity in Mexico. In 1947, Catlett had just begun studying terracotta with the sculptor Francisco Zúñiga in her first full year in Mexico. She also married the artist Francisco Mora and finished her famous series of linoleum cut prints, I am the Negro Woman, that year. This sculpture is a powerful representation of African-American women in general and a work of keen observation. Head represents a new technique for the artist, and a departure from methods she learned at the University of Iowa under Grant Wood and in New York. In an interview with Michael Brenson in Sculpture, the artist defined her new interest: "I had worked with Ossip Zadkine in New York, and he beat the clay into the form that he wanted and then cut it in half and hollowed it out. I wanted to find out about the coil system, and I was working with Francisco Zúñiga at one of the art schools." She preferred his technique, as "it was the pre-Hispanic method. I felt that it had more of a clay form, like pots; I felt that it was more characteristic of clay to build it up with coils ... it was more connected to cultural traditions that had existed for centuries. Like the stone carving or the ceramics of the Pre-Columbian period. And the woodcarving of the Africans." In addition to the form and construction in Head, the artist lets the natural materials show their inherent characteristics with the marked surface of the hair and the translucent stained color. Head epitomizes the attention to form and an exploration of materials that would characterize the rest of her career, as seen by the author and artist Samella Lewis, who chose it to grace the cover of her monograph on Catlett. As with most of her other subjects, Elizabeth Catlett made other variations--Head, also circa 1947, in white clay terracotta in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art, and Negro Woman, in wood and onyx, circa 1956, in the collection of Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries, Atlanta.

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ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Bread (Derecho Alimentarse).

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Description: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Bread (Derecho Alimentarse). Linoleum cut on cream wove paper, 1952. 405x305 mm; 16x12 inches, full margins. An early proof, before the edition of 35 printed in 1968. Signed and dated '54 in pencil, lower right. Printed and published by the artist at the Taller de Gráfica Popular, Mexico City.

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MARGARET BURROUGHS (1917 - 2010) Popocatépetl.

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Description: MARGARET BURROUGHS (1917 - 2010) Popocatépetl. Color linoleum cut on heavy cream wove paper, 1952. 206x295 mm; 8 1/8x11 5/8 inches, full margins. Signed, titled, dated and numbered 1/5 in ballpoint pen, lower margin. This scarce, early linocut marks the beginning of Burroughs's long association with the medium. The advent of McCarthyism and the Red Scare forced Burroughs to take an extended leave of absence from teaching in Chicago in 1952. She decided to visit her close friend Elizabeth Catlett in Mexico City, and stayed for a year. She studied at the Esmerelda School of Art and the Taller de Gráfica Popular, where, under the instruction of Leopoldo Méndez, she developed her skills in printmaking. Popocatéptl is an active volcano located in central Mexico.

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LOÏS MAILOU JONES (1905 - 1998) Rue de L'Abreuvoir, Paris.

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Description: LOÏS MAILOU JONES (1905 - 1998) Rue de L'Abreuvoir, Paris. Gouache on board, 1948. 381x457 mm; 15x18 inches. Signed, dated and inscribed "Paris" in oil, lower right recto. Signed, titled, dated and inscribed "Paris" in pencil, upper right verso. Inscribed "Rue De L'Abreuvoir, Paris (gouache) by Loïs Mailou Jones" in ink across the verso. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; thence by descent to a private collection, Washington, DC. This charming Montmartre street corner scene is an unusual example of a gouache from Loïs Mailou Jones's Paris oeuvre. Jones, who first lived in Paris from 1937-38, returned there frequently after World War II. She painted several views up this hill towards Sacré-Cœur, and many other landscapes around Montmartre and Paris en plein air. These street scenes were important subjects for her, and she continued to produce them through the mid-1960s. Conwill pp. 46-47.

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LOÏS MAILOU JONES (1905 - 1998) Untitled (Village Steet Scene).

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Description: LOÏS MAILOU JONES (1905 - 1998) Untitled (Village Steet Scene). Oil on linen canvas, 1949. 610x502 mm; 24x19 3/4 inches. Signed, dated and inscribed "France" in oil, lower right recto. Inscribed "Céline Tabary à Vermelles" in ink on the stretcher bar, verso. Provenance: acquired at Sloans and Kenyon, Chevy Chase, MD, September 15, 2006; private Washington, DC collection. This picturesque landscape typifies the colorful Impressionist scenes Loïs Mailou Jones painted around the Alpes Maritimes, near Cabris, the hometown of her friend Céline Tabary in the south of France. Jones returned to France after World War II, and lived there intermittently through the 1960s. In this year, 1949, she received the John Hope Purchase Prize for her landscape Ville d'Houdain, France at the Eighth Annual Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture and Prints by Negro Artists, Atlanta University, and a painting award for Petite Ville en hautes-Pyrenées from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

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LARRY POTTER (1925 - 1966) Untitled (Abstract Composition).

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Description: LARRY POTTER (1925 - 1966) Untitled (Abstract Composition). Gouache on tan wove paper, circa 1958. 305x230 mm; 12x9 inches. Provenance: the estate of the artist; Herbert Gentry; gift to a private collection, New York. Larry Potter was among the second wave of young African-American artists to move to Paris after World War II, joining Ed Clark, Beauford Delaney, Herbert Gentry and Barbara Chase-Riboud, among others. Potter was born in New York and grew up in Harlem. Potter may have been inspired to travel to Paris by his good friend Bob Blackburn for whom he managed the Printmaking Workshop while Blackburn was in Paris in 1953. Potter lived there continuously after 1958. He showed his abstract paintings in Paris in 1964, and with other African-American artists in Copenhagen in 1964. He died suddenly of an asthma attack at the age of only 40. Mercer p. 84.

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EARL BEAUFORD MILLER (1930 - 2003) Untitled.

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Description: EARL BEAUFORD MILLER (1930 - 2003) Untitled. Oil on linen canvas, 1960. 864x914 mm; 34x36 inches. Signed and dated in oil, verso. Provenance: William H. Littlefield, Falmouth, MA, with an ink stamp on the stretcher bars; private New York collection. Exhibited: Cape Cod Art Association, Hyannis, MA, September 2-29, 1961, with a typed label on the frame back. This abstraction is the first recorded artwork by painter and graphic artist Earl Miller to come to auction. The Chicago-born artist studied at the Pratt Institute of Art with Richard Lindner and at the Brooklyn Museum Art School with Reuben Tam from 1954-1956. Miller exhibited in 1960 and 1961 at the Phoenix Gallery, New York, before living and exhibiting throughout Europe, including Germany, Spain and Scandinavia. After returning to the New York art scene, he was one of the younger members of the Spiral Group, joining his mentor Charles Alston in 1963. The Spiral collective of African-American artists came together in New York City in the 1960s to form a unified artists' response to the Civil Rights struggle. In addition to Miller and Alston, it included artists Emma Amos, Romare Bearden, Reginald Gammon, Felrath Hines, Alvin Hollingsworth, Norman Lewis, Richard Mayhew, Merton Simpson, Hale Woodruff and James Yeargans. Miller went on to teach art at the University of Washington, Seattle from 1969.

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BEAUFORD DELANEY (1901 - 1979) Embrun.

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Description: BEAUFORD DELANEY (1901 - 1979) Embrun. Watercolor on wove paper, 1963. 641x501 mm; 25 1/4x19 3/4 inches. Signed and dated "July 19, 1963" in ink, lower right. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; James and Gloria Jones, Paris; estate of Gloria Jones, New York; private New York collection. Exhibited: the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, with the label on the frame back.

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BEAUFORD DELANEY (1901 - 1979) Untitled (Composition in Blue).

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Description: BEAUFORD DELANEY (1901 - 1979) Untitled (Composition in Blue). Watercolor on wove paper, 1963. 641x501 mm; 25 1/4x19 3/4 inches. Signed, dated and inscribed "Paris" in ink, lower right. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; James and Gloria Jones, Paris; estate of Gloria Jones, New York; private New York collection.

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BEAUFORD DELANEY (1901 - 1979) Untitled.

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Description: BEAUFORD DELANEY (1901 - 1979) Untitled. Oil on cotton canvas, 1968. 610x502 mm; 24x19 3/4 inches. Signed and dated in oil, lower left. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; James and Gloria Jones, Paris; estate of Gloria Jones, New York; private New York collection. American writer James Jones and his wife Gloria were close friends, collectors and supporters of Delaney's while he lived in Paris. Exhibited: the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, with the label on the frame back. In this striking canvas, Beauford Delaney combines a representation of an African fertility figure within a saturated yellow color field painting. Delaney had an interest in African sculpture going back to his reading of Alain Locke's New Negro, and visiting artist Cloyd Boykin's Primitive African Arts Center in the 1930s. Having seen the influence of African art on Picasso and other modernist painters in both New York and Paris, Delaney often incorporated African motifs and figures, including Earth Mother, 1950 and Mokonde Figure, 1952. This oil is from the same year as his Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald in the Walter O. Evans Collection of African-American Art, the last fully productive year of his Parisian period. In both paintings, the figure is subsumed within the dominant yellow swirls of color. Three years later, Delaney even portrayed himself as an African figure in his Self-Portrait, 1971. Leeming p. 41 and 102; Powell p. 58.

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ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Figure.

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Description: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Figure. Cast bronze, with a green patina, 1961. Approximately 352x191x89 mm; 13 7/8x7 1/2x3 1/2 inches (not including wood base). Initialed at the rear lower edge. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; private collection. Exhibited: Elizabeth Catlett Sculpture: A Fifty Year Retrospective, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY, February 8 - June 7, 1988, traveling exhibition. Illustrated: Lucinda Gedeon, Elizabeth Catlett Sculpture: A Fifty Year Retrospective, p. 52. This standing female figure, stretching upwards, is an excellent example of the artist's mid-career work in bronze. The pose of upraised arms is typical of her depictions of the strength and dignity of women.

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ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Negro es Bello I (Black is Beautiful).

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Description: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Negro es Bello I (Black is Beautiful). Lithograph, 1968. 192x280 mm; 7 1/2x11 inches, full margins. First edition (of 2). Signed, titled, dated and numbered 94/100 in pencil, lower margin.

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ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Two Generations.

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Description: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Two Generations. Lithograph, 1979. 432x509 mm; 17x20 inches, full margins. First edition (of 2). Signed, titled, dated and numbered 62/100 in pencil, lower margin.

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ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Sharecropper.

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Description: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915 - 2012) Sharecropper. Color linoleum cut on textured wove paper, circa 1952. 452x425 mm; 17 5/8x16 1/2 inches, full margins. Artist's proof, in advance of the 1970 edition. Signed, titled, dated "1968" and inscribed "A/P" in pencil, lower margin. A superb impression of this important print, with deep relief printing and rich, dark color. Sharecropper, one of Catlett's most iconic images, was originally printed in 1952. She then published it as Cosechadora de algodón in the journal Artes de México in 1957, various impressions in black, as well as the edition of 60 in color in 1970. This artist's proof, printed two years prior to the 1970 color edition, shows Catlett's experimentation with the added tan and green color blocks. In this proof, the figure's collar and neck is filled in with dense inking. Additionally, in the later edition, Catlett added white highlights throughout the face, with particular emphasis on the lower lip, further accentuating the contrast of the dark and light lines.

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WALTER WILLIAMS (1920 - 1988) Untitled (Boy in Field of Flowers).

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Description: WALTER WILLIAMS (1920 - 1988) Untitled (Boy in Field of Flowers). Oil and collage on masonite board, circa 1960-64. 711x813 mm; 28x32 inches. Signed in oil, lower left. Provenance: the collection of Muriel Harris; thence by descent to the current owner. This richly layered painting is easily the finest and largest example of Walter Williams's work to come to auction at Swann Galleries. This mid-career painting incorporates his signature subject of children in sunny fields of flowers and butterflies with an experimental investigation of paint surface and texture. Williams creates butterfiles and flowers out of an expressive, almost organic build up of brushstrokes, dots, drips and daubs of paint. He then daringly opens up the painting to reveal the board beneath to create clouds in the sky. Small collaged elements become leaves, wings, petals, and even the tiny head of a woman appears to the right of the boy's head. Born in Brooklyn, the painter, printmaker and sculptor Walter Williams studied art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School under Ben Shahn, Reuben Tam and Gregorio Prestopino from 1951-55. His social realist New York City street scenes were exhibited as early as 1952 at Roko Gallery, and included in 1953 in the Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting at the Whitney Museum. But after receiving a John Hay Whitney Foundation fellowship in 1955, which he used to travel to Denmark in 1956, Williams left behind the stark subjects of the city for a warmer, poetic countryside. He found a new level of expression in imaginary Southern landscapes and inspiration living abroad. His Southern Landscape, 1963-64, also oil with collage, was shown in the important 1976 exhibition, Two Centuries of Black American Art. The catalogue notes by Leonard Simon are also a fitting description of this painting: "What is impressive about Williams' paintings, however traditional his formal devices may sometimes appear, is the fact that what he produces is always completely contemporary. His spontaneous discoveries of new uses of media are seen in the rhythmic marks of paint and collage. The marks, one feels, could at any moment rearrange themselves but would retain a sense of order harmony." Driskell p. 192.

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WALTER WILLIAMS (1920 - 1988) Caged Bird.

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Description: WALTER WILLIAMS (1920 - 1988) Caged Bird. Color woodcut on thin imitation Japan paper, 1966. 464x616 mm; 18 1/4x24 1/4 inches, full margins. Artist's proof. Signed, titled, dated and inscribed "AP." and "imp." in pencil, lower margin.

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WALTER WILLIAMS (1920 - 1988) Boy with Cock.

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Description: WALTER WILLIAMS (1920 - 1988) Boy with Cock. Color woodcut on thin imitation Japan paper, 1965. 511x635 mm; 20 1/8x25 inches, full margins. Signed, titled, dated, numbered 1/15 and inscribed "imp." in pencil, lower margin.

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WALTER WILLIAMS (1920 - 1988) Boy with Sunflowers.

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Description: WALTER WILLIAMS (1920 - 1988) Boy with Sunflowers. Color woodcut on thin imitation Japan paper, laid down to cardstock, 1965. 298x610 mm; 11 3/4x24 inches, full margins. Signed, titled, dated, numbered 111/210 and inscribed "imp" in pencil, lower margin.

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CLIFFORD JACKSON (1927 -  ) Trommeslager Blå (Blue Drummer).

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Description: CLIFFORD JACKSON (1927 - ) Trommeslager Blå (Blue Drummer). Oil on masonite board, 1965. 470x444 mm; 18 1/2x17 1/2 inches. Signed in oil, upper left recto. Signed, titled and dated in oil, upper left verso. Provenance: private Danish collection; private collection, New York. Known as both a painter and jazz musician, Clifford Jackson began his painting career in Scandinavia in the late 1950s and 1960s. His abstract paintings evoke the spirit of his jazz music. Jackson studied at the Art Students League and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture before being awarded a John Hay Whitney fellowship in 1957. The artist moved to Stockholm, where he studied at the Royal Academy of Art. Today, his paintings are found in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Sundsvall Museum, Sweden, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

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HERBERT GENTRY (1919 - 2003) Untitled.

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Description: HERBERT GENTRY (1919 - 2003) Untitled. Gouache on gray wove paper, 1965. 324x490 mm;12 3/4x19 1/2 inches. Signed and dated in ink, lower margin. Provenance: private Danish collection; private New York collection. Herbert Gentry is best known for his vigorous combination of Expressionism and abstract painting. Gentry had moved to Stockholm in 1965, after having lived in Paris since 1946. By the 1970s, he had a well-established career as a painter in Northern Europe and Paris. He was associated with both the influential CoBrA group of Dutch painters, Karel Appel and Corneille, and a dynamic group of African-American painters living in Northern Europe, including Sam Middleton and Walter Williams.

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