Feb 23, 2010 - Sale 2203

Sale 2203 - Lot 26

Price Realized: $ 3,120
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
RONALD JOSEPH (1910 - 1992)

Oil on canvas, circa 1938-40. 710x460 mm; 28x18 inches. Signed and titled in crayon on the canvas, verso.

Provenance: private New York collection.

This modernist painting is one of the earliest works by Ronald Joseph that we have located, and only a handful of his paintings are from the 1940s. Ronald Joseph was a student at the Harlem Community Art Center in 1939, where he studied lithography under Reva Helfond, befriended Robert Blackburn and later taught. As this painting's indebtness to Picasso's blue period demonstrates, Joseph's early oil paintings were more influenced by European sources than many of his contemporaries, who instead focused on social realism.

A native of St. Kitts in the British West Indies, Ronald Joseph moved to New York as a child. His student works were included in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and he studied at the Ethical Culture School, Fieldston School and Pratt Institute. He worked in the mural section of the Federal Art Project of the WPA, and was a representative of the Harlem Artists' Guild to the New York World's Fair (1939-1940). After service in the Army Air Corps, Joseph was awarded a Rosenwald Fellowship in 1948. The funds allowed him to live and work abroad--first in Peru, then Paris, before settling in Brussels. Two of his works from this Rosenwald period are included in the 2009-10 traveling museum exhibition, A Force for Change: African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund.