Oct 07, 2021 - Sale 2581

Sale 2581 - Lot 166

Price Realized: $ 100,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 40,000 - $ 60,000
/I HUGHIE LEE-SMITH (1915 - 1999)
Curtain Call.

Oil on linen canvas, 1989. 914x1016 mm; 36x40 inches. Signed in oil, lower right.

Provenance: the estate of the artist; thence by descent to the current owner, California.

Exhibited: June Kelly Gallery, New York; Anderson Gallery, Buffalo, NY, with the labels on the frame back.

Curtain Call is a wonderful example from the artist's late series of paintings depicting musicians or actors in a staged environment. The year before, in 1988, Hughie Lee-Smith had his first retrospective at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. Other Lee-Smith paintings from this series include End of Act One, 1984, and Temptation, 1991.

These imagined scenes recall Lee-Smith's early experiences of dance and theater while working at the Playhouse Settlement (named Karamu House in 1941) during the WPA period in Cleveland. Lee-Smith taught art at Karamu House in the late 1930s in return for the full scholarship to the Cleveland School of Art (now the Art Institute of Cleveland) that the Gilpin Players awarded him in 1935. Inspired by the Gilpin Players, a black acting troupe, Lee-Smith also founded an inter-racial modern dance troupe there.