Oct 06, 2022 - Sale 2616

Sale 2616 - Lot 34

Price Realized: $ 137,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 20,000 - $ 30,000
CHARLES WHITE (1918 - 1979)
Folk Singer.

Linoleum cut on artificial Japan paper, 1957. 907x455 mm; 35 3/4x18 inches, full margins. Edition of 30. Signed, titled, dated and inscribed "Ed/30" in pencil, lower margin.

In this wonderfully expressive linoleum cut, Charles White reinterprets his iconic 1957 ink drawing Folk Singer (Voice of Jericho: Portait of Harry Belafonte).

Harry Belafonte was a important figure to Charles White - a friend, patron, collaborator and inspiration. In the late 1950s, White made musicians, singers and actors the subjects of his work--from the famous to the anonymous. While they had met in the early 1950s through their membership in the Committee for the Negro Arts, White and Belafonte became close friends and collaborated often once White moved to California. Andrea Barnwell describes how "with a generous gift from their dear friend Harry Belafonte," Frances and White rented a house from friends on Summit Avenue in Pasadena in 1956, before they moved to nearby Altadena. Belafonte also wrote the introduction to White's 1958 ACA Gallery exhibition catalogue when he first exhibited Folk Singer, and the foreword to the 1967 book Images of Dignity: The Drawings of Charles White. In the latter, Belafonte describes the profound connection he made to the work of Charles White: "You are enriched by the experience of having known Charles White's people, who are like characters from a great novel that remain with you long after the pages of the book have been closed." Through White's hand, we become familiar with this great singer.

This is a very scarce print and only the second to appear at auction. While the intended edition was inscribed as 30, Lucinda Gedeon noted an edition of 25. We know the location of only a few other impressions of Folk Singer. An impression, titled Voice of Jericho and dated 1958, in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art was exhibited in the recent travelling exhibition Charles White: A Retrospective. Oehler/Adler pl. 79, cat. 59; Barnwell p. 61; Gedeon Eb 12; Horowitz p. 1.