Oct 07, 2021 - Sale 2581

Sale 2581 - Lot 156

Price Realized: $ 50,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 20,000 - $ 30,000
STREET PEOPLE, 1986 ROBERT NEAL (1916 - 1987)
Street People.

Oil on cotton canvas, 1986. 889x787 mm; 35x31 inches. Signed and dated in oil, lower right recto. Titled in pencil, verso.

Provenance: the estate of the artist; private collection, Ohio.

Robert Neal's powerful and beautiful painting of homeless men on the street in a snow storm is poignant image of modern American life. Like Neal's 1984 painting Cheese and Butter Line, it is a reminder of how poverty affects the lives of many different Americans.

A native of Atlanta, Robert Neal was a student of Hale Woodruff's and became his studio assistant at Spelman College, working on the Talladega College Amistad murals in 1939. At the same time, Neal exhibited his own paintings and was included in the 1939 Baltimore Museum of Art's Contemporary Negro Art, the first museum group exhibition of African-American artists, and the 1940 Exhibition of the Art of the American Negro (1851-1940) at the Tanner Galleries in Chicago, the largest survey of African-American art at the time. Neal is also mentioned in Alain Locke's 1940 The Negro in Art: A Pictorial Record of The Negro Artist and of The Negro Theme In Art, and James A. Porter's 1943 Modern Negro Art.

Robert Neal moved to Dayton, Ohio in the 1940s and continued painting; unfortunately, little is recorded about his later career. His paintings are now in the collections of the High Museum and the Columbus Museum of Art. Heydt pp. 80, 132.