Oil on linen canvas, circa 1960. 457x610 mm; 18x24 inches. Signed in oil, lower right recto. Titled in pencil on the stretcher bars, verso.
Provenance: acquired from the Robert Henry Adams Fine Art, Chicago, private collection, Pennsylvania; acquired from the Surovek Gallery, Palm Beach; private collection, with the gallery labels on the frame back.
This beautiful lakeshore scene is an excellent example of Hughie Lee-Smith's mid-career painting. The Ribbon epitomizes Lee-Smith's unique vision of a modern, existential landscape with Surrealist undertones. 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.
In the 1960s, Lee-Smith continued to mine his experiences on the shores and beaches of Michigan and Ontario for his painting subjects. Lee-Smith revisits a familiar pairing of a young man and a young woman in a red dress - also found in Poet #4, 1954 and Two Figures at the Beach, 1955 . He also defines the space and mood with many of his signature elements: the fluttering ribbon, separated poles and a distant shore line at the horizon. Unspecific and largely created from his imagination, Lee-Smith's ambiguous scenes reflect his interest in depicting the modern condition.