Oct 18, 2012 - Sale 2290

Sale 2290 - Lot 41

Price Realized: $ 90,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 50,000 - $ 75,000
NORMAN LEWIS (1909 - 1979)
Untitled (Circular Procession of Figures).

Oil on canvas, 1953. 635x762 mm; 25x30 inches. Signed and dated "3-1953" in oil, lower left.

Provenance: gift of the artist to Alice Hoecker, New York, circa 1953; acquired in 2004 from her estate; private collection, New York. Alice Hoecker was a painting student of Norman Lewis's at the Art Students League, and a friend of his from 1947 through 1954. Figures hold up several small signs with her initials--and in the lower left, next to the signature, a figure holds up a newspaper that reads "Extra AH."

This swirling composition of calligraphic figures is an extraordinary example of Norman Lewis's "rituals" paintings, an early example from the 1950s with a scarce view into the psyche of the artist. The painting reveals a personal vision of the artist, depicted lower right in an artist's smock next to an easel. Norman Lewis has created an almost surreal cosmology of characters within this crowded, tumultuous procession--including clowns, hobos and cops among marching, walking and running figures.