Sep 15, 2015 - Sale 2390

Sale 2390 - Lot 32

Price Realized: $ 461,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 150,000 - $ 250,000
Maya's Quilt of Life.

Acrylic on canvas and painted, dyed and pieced fabrics, 1989. 1854x1854 mm; 73x73 inches. Inscribed "Maya's Quilt of Life by Faith Ringgold © 1989" and "This painted story quilt is a tribute to the universal wisdom and strength of Maya Angelou, the phenomenal woman, writer, poet, thinker and human being. It was commissioned for Ms. Angelou's birthday, April 4, 1989, by Oprah Winfrey who says of Ms. Angelou: "She is our mother, sister, friend and teacher." and "Text of the quilt is excerpted from: Just Give Me A Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie © 1971, Gather Together In My Name © 1974, The Heart of A Woman © 1981, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings © 1970 by Maya Angelou reprinted here by permission of Random House, Inc., New York City" in ink, upper left recto. Also inscribed "Maya's Quilt of Life by Faith Ringgold © 1989, acrylic paint on canvas and printed, dyed and pieced fabrics, 73" by 73", text from Maya Angelou's published works by permission of Random House, NYC." in ink on canvas, lower left verso.

Provenance: commissioned by Oprah Winfrey and given to Dr. Angelou on her birthday; the estate of Dr. Maya Angelou.

Maya's Quilt of Life is a quintessential story quilt by Faith Ringgold - an excellent example of her unique art form, the artist's ingenious incorporation of painting, narrative texts and quilt-making, and a beautiful, moving portrait of Dr. Angelou. Ringgold paints a confident and beautiful young woman walking down a wooded path lined with blossoming spring flowers. Dr. Angelou is wearing her signature brightly patterned African print dress and head scarf. Ringgold's portrait embodies the strength, independence and beauty of Dr. Angelou. Ringgold's bold combination of collage, color and pattern all reinforce the visual expressiveness and celebratory character of the artwork.

The panels of hand-written quotations from Dr. Angelou's writings remind us of the two artists' common interests. Ringgold's story quilts were born from her writings and performance work in the early 1980s. She sought to express herself not only visually but "in her own words" - and has always included text in her story quilts. Ringgold has said her storytelling's aim was to "shed light on who I am as an African-American woman outside of the limitations that people's stereotypes place on me. I don't want to argue about it. I just want to re-tell the story."

Prominently hung in Dr. Angelou's Harlem home, Maya's Quilt of Life made a lasting impression on the many family members, friends and guests who came to visit - though this is the first time it has been publicly exhibited. This is also the first time one of Faith Ringgold story quilts has come to auction. Farrington pp. 73 and 99.