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Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 9,000
MERTON D. SIMPSON (1928 - 2013) The Lost Boy.
Oil on masonite board, 1951. 508x406 mm; 20x16 inches. Incised signature and date, lower right.
Provenance: gift from the artist; private collection (1951); thence by descent to the current owner, private collection, New York. This painting was first received as a wedding gift in 1951 from Merton Simpson by the owner's cousin who served in the armed forces with Simpson.
This modern, expressionist painting is one of the earliest paintings by Merton Simpson to come to auction. In 1951, Simpson had recently joined the Air Force. He was appointed as an official US Air Force artist after impressing his base commander, painting portraits of Dwight Eisenhower and other generals. After his military service ended in 1954, Simpson moved to New York where he studied painting at New York University with William Baziotes and Hale Woodruff and at Cooper Union. His New York career also took off that year with his inclusion in group exhibitions at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.