Jan 30, 2020 - Sale 2528

Sale 2528 - Lot 4

Price Realized: $ 25,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 20,000 - $ 30,000
SAMUEL COUNTEE (1909 - 1959)
Portrait of Beauty.

Oil on linen canvas, 1949. 965x762 mm; 36x30 inches. Signed and dated in oil, lower right.

Provenance: the Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., Chicago.

Portrait of Beauty is a very scarce and large portrait by Samuel Countee, one of the first modern African-American artists from Texas. Countee was born in Marshall and grew up in Houston. Entering Bishop College in 1929, Countee majored in art and paid his way through school by painting the portraits of faculty and administrators. In 1933, he was named "Artist in Residence" at Bishop College, a position made possible by the prestigious William E. Harmon Award. His career was launched with his painting Little Brown Boy's acceptance to an exhibition of the Harmon Foundation in 1933 and later published in Alain Locke's seminal A Pictorial Record of The Negro Artist and of the Negro Theme in Art.

After graduating in 1934, Countee was awarded a scholarship to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He exhibited in several significant exhibitions of African-American art in the 1930s in New York, and hisThe Guitar was included in The Hall of Negro Life in the 1936 Texas Centennial in Dallas. Countee then moved to New York and continued to show his artwork through the 1950s — winning first prize in the Eleventh Annual Atlanta Exhibition art competition in 1952. Biographical notes courtesy of the Texas State Historical Association.