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Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000
ROBERT NEAL (1916 - 1987) Untitled (Pacific World War II Still Life).
Oil on masonite board, circa 1941-45. 421x558 mm; 16 1/2x22 inches. Signed in oil, lower right.
Provenance: acquired from family descendants of the artist, Colorado; private collection, Colorado.
This striking still life is a scarce World War II subject by an African-American artist - inspired by the U.S. armed forces fighting in the Pacific.
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; unfortunately, little is known about his latter life or career. Heydt pp. 80, 132.