Oct 08, 2009 - Sale 2189

Sale 2189 - Lot 33

Price Realized: $ 78,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 75,000 - $ 100,000
NORMAN LEWIS (1909 - 1979)
Sinister Doings by Gaslight.

Oil on canvas, 1952. 1015x1320 mm; 40x52 inches. Signed and dated "2-52" in oil, lower right. Titled in pencil on the upper stretcher bar.

Provenance: gift from the artist; a private collection; thence by descent to the current owners.

Exhibited: "Norman Lewis," Willard Gallery, New York, November 3 - 29, 1952, with the typed gallery label "L 16-54" on the upper stretcher bar. Sinister Doings by Gaslight was one of 10 paintings shown in the artist's third solo exhibition at the Willard Gallery, the first exhibition in the gallery's new space at 23 West 56th Street.

This dramatic painting is a very fine and early example of Norman Lewis's 1950s Abstract Expressionist idiom. In the early 1950s, in addition to several solo exhibitions at the Willard Gallery, Lewis finally achieved some public recognition for his contributions to abstraction. He was first included in the 1951 Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1952, Lewis also achieved critical acclaim with positive reviews in the New York Herald-Tribune and Art News magazine. In 1955, his Migrating Birds won the Popularity Prize in painting at the Pittsburgh International Exhibition at the Carnegie Institute. Today, many Lewis paintings from 1952 are found in museum collections, including Prehistory in the Dayton Art Institute, and both Arctic Night and Passing Storm in the Studio Museum in Harlem.