Oct 06, 2011 - Sale 2255

Sale 2255 - Lot 64

Price Realized: $ 22,800
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 30,000 - $ 50,000
NORMAN LEWIS (1909 - 1979)

Oil on canvas, 1955. 635x1270 mm; 25x50 inches. Signed and dated in oil, lower right.

Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; Oral Lovell, Wellesley, MA; thence by descent to the current owner. Oral Lovell was a significant collector of Norman Lewis's works and was his close friend from 1959 to 1965. They met through a circle of New York City artists, including Romare Bearden and Charles Alston.

This nocturnal abstraction is a very good example of Norman Lewis's important "black" paintings. Beginning in the late 1940s, Lewis painted at night, depicting what he saw from his studio window or on walks in Harlem. His 1950s "atmospheric" works, such as Orpheus from 1953 and this untitled painting, subsume the drawing and abstracted structures under the dark surface of "blackness." These darker paintings are a counterpoint to his more celebrated works at the time, the lighter, ephemeral Migrating Birds of 1954 and Harlem Turns White of 1955. Another such "black" 1955 painting, Dark Horizon, was included in the 1995 Studio Museum in Harlem exhibition, Norman Lewis, Black Paintings, 1946-1977, and sold at Sotheby's on March 9, 2011. Veneciano p. 40, pl. 47.