Apr 02, 2015 - Sale 2378

Sale 2378 - Lot 22

Price Realized: $ 13,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000
CHARLES WHITE (1918 - 1979)
Diego Rivera (Portrait of a Man).

Conte crayon and pencil on illustration board, circa 1935-38. 254x203 mm; 10x8 inches. Signed in pencil, lower left.

Provenance: private collection, New York; thence by descent to a private collection, New York.

Exhibited: Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, with the museum label on the frame back.

This fascinating portait of one of Charles White's heroes is one of the earliest known drawings by the artist to come to auction - likely made just before or during the time of his study at the Art Institute of Chicago. Charles White was determined to become an artist despite his family's tight finances, and early rejections from discriminatory art schools. White won a $240 scholarship to attend the Chicago Art Institute, entering in 1937. White completed the two year course in one year, despite often walking the 60 blocks home to save money and working as a cook and valet. Upon his graduation in 1938, he soon qualified to join the easel and mural divisions of the Federal Art Project in Illinois.

Diego Rivera's international fame and the rise of the Mexican muralists made a profound impact on Charles White and many other social realists' art work. In the mural divison of the FAP, White worked with muralists Mitchell Siporin and Edward Millman who both had assisted Rivera on murals in Mexico. Later in 1947, upon winning a Rosenwald scholarship to travel and study in Mexico, White met Diego Rivera and studied with David Alfaro Siqueiros at the Esmeralda Escuela del Arte and the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City. Curiously, despite a strong resemblance, an identification of Rivera was never made with this drawing. Gedeon D10.