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Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 7,000
JAMES LESESNE WELLS (1902 - 1992) African Fetish II (African Family).
Linoleum cut on thin wove paper, cica 1929. 279x203 mm; 11x8 inches, full margins. Signed and titled in pencil, lower margin.
Illustrated: New Masses, August 1929; Joshua I. Cohen, The Black Art Renaissance: African Sculpture and Modernism across Continents, fig. 64, p. 117. Historian Joshua I. Cohen located the publication of this print in the Marxist journal New Masses, and discusses how Wells interpreted African sculpture in other similar late 1920s prints like African Fantasy and African Masks (Demon Masks).
This significant and very scarce Harlem Renaissance print is a wonderful example of James Lesesne Wells' block prints and his interest in the influence of African sculpture on modern art. Art historian Wendy A Grossman in her influential Phillips Collection exhition Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens noted how "Wells frequently actualized the notion of the ancestral legacy of African art in linoleum-cut prints such as African Masks." An impression of this print was shown with a group of eight Wells prints in the Exhibition of the Work of Negro Arts at the Harmon Foundation in New York in 1931. Grossman p. 129.