Oct 06, 2022 - Sale 2616

Sale 2616 - Lot 31

Price Realized: $ 106,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 50,000 - $ 75,000
JACOB LAWRENCE (1917 - 2000)
Westchester Graduation Ball.

Brush and ink on thick cream wove paper, 1951. 232x552 mm; 9 1/8x21 3/4 inches. Signed in ink, lower right.

Provenance: gift from the artist, Rev. Dr. Alger L. and Jesse M. Adams, Hasting-on-Hudson, NY; thence by descent, private collection, New York.

In June 1951, Westchester African American community leaders, Rev. Alger L. Adams and his wife, Jessie, of Hastings-on-Hudson, sponsored a cotillion-styled ball at Sarah Lawrence College for 1,951 of Westchester's Black high school graduates. Inspired by the notion of a cotillion, they formed a committee of community peers and executed the fête. A long-time family friend of the Adams', Lawrence was asked to design the cover for the invitation. After the invitations were printed, the original painting was returned to the Adams. Then Lawrence waved away their offer to return the original and instead gifted it to them.

This wonderful, elegant drawing is both a significant example of Jacob Lawrence's mid-career work on paper, and a notable modern representation of Black social history. In 1951, Lawrence began a series of paintings that explored similar themes of performance - including Vaudeville, collection of the Hirshorn Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Chess on Broadway, exhibited at Twenty Eighth Venice Biennale and Magic on Broadway. He also made two other versions of this illustration that year -Untitled (Dance A) and Untitled (Dance B). All three are illustrated in the artist's 2000 catalogue raisonnné by Peter Nesbitt & Michelle DuBois.

With-- a copy of the June 13, 1951 program with the drawing illustrated on the front and back covers. This is an original copy of the 11 page printed invitation and keep-sake, listing the agenda, dance card and all participants and sponsors. Nesbett/DuBois 51-05.