NORMAN LEWIS (1909 - 1979) Untitled (Gate Composition).
Oil on masonite board, 1947. 356x457 mm; 14x18 inches. Signed and dated in oil, lower right. Also incised "To Dorothy, Leonard, Glenn" in oil, lower right.
Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; Margradel and Leonard Hicks, New York (1960s); thence by descent, private collection, Vermont.
This striking abstraction is a scarce example of Norman Lewis' early exploration of form and technique in the late 1940s. Norman Lewis made several of these modernist paintings on masonite board between 1946 and 1947. They share a central abstract composition with a rich variety of surfaces, including graffito and scrapings, surrounded by a halo of deep monochromatic color. Norman Lewis found these particular abstract forms in the iron work of New York doors and gates. Two very similar works Gate, graphite on paper, and Harlem Gate, oil on canvas, both circa 1950, were included in his 2016 retrospective Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis organized by Ruth Fine. Fine plate 14, fig 27; pp. 42-43.