Oil on canvas, circa 1935. 610x508 mm; 24x20 inches.
Provenance: the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, Los Angeles, sold at Swann Galleries on October 4, 2007.
Exhibited: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1935.
Beulah Woodard was the first significant African-American female artist working on the West Coast. This very rare example of Woodard's painting was exhibited in her important one-woman show of sculpture and painting at the Los Angeles County Museum in 1935, the first solo exhibition there for an African-American. According to Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins, African Woman is likely a portrait of Maudelle Bass Weston, the dancer and model who also posed for the ceramic bust entitled Maudelle. Thousands visited the exhibition, and Los Angeles newspapers and the Associated Press covered the story. When Beulah Woodard was 12 years old, she met a native African which began her lifelong interest in African culture. Her portraits of Africans are noted for their realism and attention to detail; this is one of only a few known paintings.