Oct 06, 2022 - Sale 2616

Sale 2616 - Lot 26

Price Realized: $ 317,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 120,000 - $ 180,000
NORMAN LEWIS (1909 - 1979)

Oil on cotton canvas, 1947. 768x406 mm; 30 1/4x16 inches. Signed and dated "3-47" in oil, lower right.

Provenance: acquired directly from the artist, private collection, New York; thence by descent, private collection, North Carolina.

This modernist oil painting is a striking and scarce example of the earliest abstraction by Norman Lewis, from his first full year painting completely abstract. By fall 1946, Lewis joined the Marian Willard Gallery in New York, and began a new series of linear abstract paintings in the spring of 1947. Untitled is closely related to his Magenta Haze and Twilight Sounds, collection of the St. Louis Museum of Art, each dated March 1947. Their ground's distinct color adds atmosphere to each composition. At this time, Norman Lewis was also clearly inspired by jazz and improvisation--Duke Ellington wrote his blues-inflected composition Magenta Haze in 1946. His first solo exhibition at the Willard Gallery in 1949 included six paintings from 1947: Magenta Haze, Spring, Street Scene, Subway, Reflections and Twilight Sounds. Another untitled painting from March of 1947 is in the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, the University of Chicago. Fine pp. 60-61, 254.