Pen and ink on illustration board, 1951. 622x419 mm; 24 1/2x16 1/2 inches. Signed and dated in ink, lower right.
Provenance: ACA Gallery, New York, with gallery label; private collection, New York, (1951); thence by descent to the current owner.
Exhibited: To My Negro Sisters, ACA Gallery, New York, February 12 - 24, 1951.
This exquisitely rendered drawing is a stunning example of Charles White's work in pen and ink. It is a scarce example - one of only several large pen and ink drawings from the early 1950s that he exhibited in New York. While White had done a series of social realist pen and ink drawings in the late 1940s, including The Trenton Six and Frederick Douglas Lives Again, he primarily drew in charcoal and crayon through the early 1950s. Juba was part of his second solo exhibiton at ACA Gallery dedicated to African-American women with six paintings, three prints and three other drawings. This large drawing just predates another pen and ink drawing, Preacher, 1952, ink on board, which was acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Both display White's mastery of cross-hatching which expresses not only form but a strength of character.
Juba is a name of a West African dance that was brought to the Americas by slaves and incorporated into African-American culture. It is also better known as the title of White's popular 1965 drawing and lithograph - another striking image of a woman, this time in profile with her hair wrapped. Not in Gedeon.