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Estimate: $ 7,000 - $ 10,000
BEULAH WOODARD (1895 - 1955) Mask.
Hammered and welded sheet metal with a cooper patina, on a wooden support, circa 1935. 508x305 mm; 20x12 inches. Incised signature on verso of wooden support.
Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; Miriam Matthews, Los Angeles; thence by descent to the current owner.
Exhibited: Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, 1935; GSM's Negro Art Collection, Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, Los Angeles, circa 1966. This sculpture was illustrated in a company publication with highlights both from the collection and loaned works from private collections.
This African ceremonial mask was first exhibited in Beulah Woodard's important solo exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum in 1935, its first solo exhibition for an African-American artist. Lisa Farrington describes how the eight week exhibtion of Woodard's series of masks attracted attention of both local and national newspapers when the story was picked up by the Associated Press, and helped launch her career. Beulah Woodard faithfully recorded African styles of dress and decoration in both her busts and masks from her own research. In 1937, she founded the Los Angeles Negro Art Association, and throughout her career, supported efforts "to educate African Americans to take pride in their African heritage." Farrington pp. 95-96.