Dec 15, 2015 - Sale 2402

Sale 2402 - Lot 52

Price Realized: $ 125,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 120,000 - $ 180,000
ROMARE BEARDEN (1911 - 1988)
Wine Star.

Oil on linen canvas, circa 1959-60. 1450x1050 mm; 59x42 inches. Signed in oil, upper left recto. Titled in oil, upper left verso.

Provenance: the artist; Michael Warren Gallery, New York; private collection, France (circa 1965); private collection, New York (2006).

Exhibited: Michael Warren Gallery, New York, January 20 - February 19, 1960, with the label on the frame back. Michael Warren Gallery was later renamed Daniel Cordier and Michael Warren Gallery, Inc. in 1961 before becoming Cordier and Ekstrom in 1962. This painting was included in a group of late 1950s abstract canvases exhibited in this solo exhibiton.

This beautiful, large canvas is an excellent and scarce example from Romare Bearden's period of abstract color field painting in the late 1950s. Romare Bearden's abstraction was influenced by non-Western intuitive approaches to imagery. In the mid-1950s, Romare Bearden had become interested in Zen Buddhism and had studied calligraphy and Chinese landscape painting with a Chinese calligrapher. His late 1950s works display less of an interest in the activity of action painting of expressionism, as described by his friend the writer Harry Henderson in a 1989 interview - "He found a rationale by studying Zen philosophy. His works were always serene and lacked the tremendous physical involvement employed by the Abstract Expressionists." Sharon Patton also described a "mystical elegance" in these abstract works, and the influence of Chinese painting is found in their asymmetry and an entry point into the painting. Patton illustrates this phase with Bearden's Blue is the Smoke of War, White the Bones of Men, circa 1960, from the Harry B. Henderson collection and sold at Swann Galleries on September 15, 2005. These beautiful paintings embrace accident, staining and the canvas fabric through a technique of pouring, staining and dripping. Bearden's period of experimental painting coincides with the more celebrated color field painting of Morris Louis and Helen Frankenthaler. Fine p. 222; Gelburd/Rosenberg p. 40; Patton p. 173.