Oct 07, 2021 - Sale 2581

Sale 2581 - Lot 69

Estimate: $ 50,000 - $ 75,000

Triptych of engraving on aluminum, mounted on wood panels, 1968. Each 914x914mm; 36x36 inches. Center panel signed and dated "September 16, 1968" with drypoint, lower left.

Provenance: collection of the artist; Lee Nordness Galleries, New York, with the gallery label on the verso, Metromedia Company, New York; private collection, New Jersey (2001).

Exhibited: 19Sixties: A Cultural Awakening Re-Evaluated 1965-1975, Californian Afro-American Museum, Los Angeles, 1989, with the museum label on the verso. This significant exhibition was organized by curators Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins and Cecil Ferguson.

This important and powerful anti-war artwork by Timothy Washington is one of the first and the largest of his ground breaking early works on aluminum. At the age of twenty, Timothy Washington pioneered his innovative technique in the later part of 1967. Washington describes the special circumstances of this important creative moment in the catalogue essay by Joseph Young of Three Graphic Artists:

"I was in class, and our problem was to do something that we would consider very personal. And I think it was the very same day that I went home and found that I was reclassified for the draft as 1-A. So, I knew that I was going to make something relating to the army or war. l wanted to work on a substance that was cold and hard, and I thought of aluminum as a material that I would like to work on. The first piece that I did on aluminum was a triptych which was a social commentary against wars."

The artist spray painted the aluminum plates with black enamel paint, and then incised the imagery with an engraving tool - similar to a mezzotint or a scratchboard. The Los Angeles native had not yet graduated from the Chouinard Art Insitute - he received his BFA in 1969. Eleven of these works were included in the 1971 ground-breaking LACMA exhibition Three Graphic Artists when the young artists Washington and David Hammons exhibited alongside Charles White. Washington continued to exhibit his assemblage work, drawings and sculpture at the Brockman Gallery, Gallery 32 and Wylan Gallery in Los Angeles through the 1970s.

Today the significance of this body of work is widely recognized. Washington's work was included in the influential 2011 Tilton Gallery exhibition L. A. Object & David Hammons Body Prints and the 2012 traveling museum exhibition Now Dig This! Art & Black Los Angeles 1960-1980. The Los Angeles artist had his first solo museum exhibition Love Thy Neighbor at the California Craft & Folk Art Museum in 2014. More recently, Washington's artwork was featured in the 2017-2020 important traveling museum exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power organized by the Tate Modern.