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Estimate: $ 30,000 - $ 40,000
ALMA W. THOMAS (1891 - 1978) In the Studio.
Oil on cotton canvas, 1956. 1016x762 mm; 40x30 inches. Signed and dated in oil, lower right recto. Signed in graphite across the verso.
Provenance: the artist, Washington, DC; Dr. J. Clay Smith, Jr., Washington, DC; private collection, Maryland. Dr. Smith was a professor and dean at Howard University School of Law, author of several books on African-Americans in the judicial system and director of the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Dr. Smith served as President of the Washington Bar Association and was the first black lawyer elected as National President of the Federal Bar Association.
Exhibited: Alma W. Thomas: Retrospective Exhibition, The Corcoran, Washington, DC, September 8 - October 15, 1972, with the label on the frame back. The label lists the artist as the lender. This was held the same year as her retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where Thomas was the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition.
This fascinating painting of Alma Thomas' studio shows another side of her development as an abstract painter. Stacked canvases and papers on a table are reduced to a compressed composition of shapes with a limited palette.