Mar 31, 2022 - Sale 2599

Sale 2599 - Lot 57

Price Realized: $ 365,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 120,000 - $ 180,000
HUGHIE LEE-SMITH (1915 - 1999)

Oil on linen canvas, circa 1960. 762x1168 mm; 30x46 inches. Signed in oil, lower right.

Provenance: the collection of the Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., Chicago, with the label on the frame back; private collection.

Illustrated: "The JPC Art Collection", Ebony, December 1979, Vol. 29, No. 2, p. 39: "Black Artists", Ebony, October 1998, Vol. 53, No. 12, p. 156:

This beautifully painted but stark urban scene is an excellent example of Hughie Lee-Smith's mid-career painting. Aftermath is a significant painting, and was part of one of the nation's most celebrated corporate collections of African American Art.

Aftermath epitomizes Lee-Smith's unique view of urban decay, a vision of a modern, existential landscape with Surrealist undertones. It appears closely related to his Slum Lad, circa 1960, in the collection of the Flint Institute of Arts. Aftermath depicts the same background of a crumbling facade. The three bright pink and yellow balloons in the foreground suggest the recent presence of young people, alienation and a fleeting, fragile moment. Lee-Smith's fluttering flags and a distant city on the horizon further denote an empty space. Another similar untitled painting with a figure walking away from the viewer was sold at Swann Galleries on April 7, 2016.

Lee-Smith returned often to show his work and teach in Detroit after moving to New York in 1958. Lee-Smith was represented in New York by the Petite Gallery and then Janet Nessler Gallery through the 1960s. King-Hammond p. 57.