NORMAN LEWIS (1909 - 1979) Untitled (Abstraction in Orange).
Oil on linen canvas, 1967. 1460x965 mm; 57 1/2x38 inches. Signed and dated in oil, lower left.
Provenance: private collection, New York; thence by descent, private collection, New York.
This bright and energetic abstraction is an excellent example of Norman Lewis's late 1960s period. Between 1966 and 1969, Norman Lewis painted a series of paintings, each with brightly colored grounds and underlying figuration typically in black and primary colors. This untitled painting is closely related in color and composition to his Masquerade, private collection, from the same year, which was included in his 2016-17 retrospective Procession: the Art of Norman Lewis. Other known examples from the series are Players, Players Four and Playtime; each date from 1966 and reference jazz musicians, a familiar subject of Lewis'. This fascinating group of work shows the artist making a decided turn, back to more abstract figuration in his painting. These paintings represent an important period, coming between his black and white Civil Rights and Klan paintings of the early to mid-1960s, and the larger scale paintings and Sea Change series to come in the 1970s.