Apr 04, 2019 - Sale 2504

Sale 2504 - Lot 54

Price Realized: $ 25,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000
Untitled (Table Top Still Life).

Oil on masonite board, 1957. 560x934 mm; 22x36 3/4 inches. Signed and dated in oil, lower right.

Provenance: private collection, San Diego, California; private collection, California.

This modern still life by Charles McGee is a scarce and excellent example of the Detroit artist's late 1950s oil painting. A beautiful study in cool tonality, McGee punctuates the compostion with the high key colors and abstract shapes of various candies and fabric patterns.

This sophisticated painting shows the development of McGee's practice by the late 1950s. Beginning in 1947, Charles McGee attended art classes part time at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit (now the College for Creative Studies). In 1951, he studied oil painting with director Sarkis Sarkisian and was a classmate of Hughie Lee-Smith. From this early academic beginning, McGee's painting evolved in the 1950s into modernism - including tonal palettes, a flat stylization of the figure and the painterly development of surface. Reflecting the influence of such diverse artists as Jacob Lawrence and Ben Shahn, his late 1950s paintings include Sustenance and Boy on a Stoop. McGee's expressive figurative art would continue to evolve into the large, vibrant and multimedia constructions that he is known for today. His works are now in many museum collections, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Howard University and Clark Atlanta University. In 2009, Julia R. Myers curated the first major retrospective of his work with the exhibition and catalogue Energy, Charles McGee at Eighty-Five at Eastern Michigan University. Myers pp. 9-11.