Jun 10, 2014 - Sale 2353

Sale 2353 - Lot 4

Price Realized: $ 8,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 12,000 - $ 18,000
RONALD JOSEPH (1910 - 1992)
Paris Vista (#6).

Oil on linen canvas, circa 1950-52. 991x813 mm; 39x32 inches. Signed and titled in pencil on the canvas, verso. Signed, titled and inscribed "Return to Bob Blackburn, 44 East 21 St." in graphite on the stretcher bars, verso.

Provenance: private New York collection.

This modernist painting is one of the largest oil canvases by Ronald Joseph that we have seen - only a handful of his Paris oil paintings from the early 1950s are known today. Joseph's early oil paintings were influenced by Picasso, Braque and other European artists while most of his contemporaries focused on social realism.

A native of St. Kitts in the British West Indies, Ronald Joseph moved to New York as a child. He was quickly identified as a very talented young artist - 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). By 1943, Joseph had received recognition - James A. Porter described him as New York's "foremost Negro abstractionist painter." He experimented with abstraction alongside his friend Bob Blackburn through the 1950s. Joseph had met Blackburn in Reva Helfond's lithography studio at the Harlem Art Center soon after he graduated from high school. 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. His work from these travels is large undocumented; according to Rosenwald scholar, Daniel Schulman, many are undated or simply dated "1948-1952". He later settled permanently in Brussels. Porter p. 130; Schulman p. 136.