Oct 19, 2023 - Sale 2649

Sale 2649 - Lot 39

Price Realized: $ 106,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 120,000 - $ 180,000
HUGHIE LEE-SMITH (1915 - 1999)
Untitled (Two Young Men on a Beach).

Oil on masonite board, 1954. 610x914 mm; 18x24 inches. Incised signature and date in oil, upper left.

Provenance: private collection, Florida.

This excellent, evocative painting by Hughie Lee-Smith epitomizes the artist's career-defining body of work from Detroit in the early 1950s. The year earlier, Lee-Smith was awarded by the Detroit Institute of Arts its prestigious Founders Prize, a national painting award, for his painting The Piper, 1953, now in their permanent collection. Painting with command of the medium, Lee-Smith here deftly displays his mature style of the mid-1950s. In this imaginary landscape, he explores the tension and space between two crouching figures on a lakeside beach - a young white man in the foreground and a young black man at the center right. Lee-Smith has included many elements that he will use to construct his scenes in the years to come: including the telephone poles, a downed wire, a distant shore line at the horizon and a beautiful but forbidding sky.