Apr 06, 2017 - Sale 2442

Sale 2442 - Lot 99

Price Realized: $ 22,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 15,000 - $ 25,000
Raw Truth.

Engraving on aluminum and assemblage, including cast iron, wood, nails, a zipper and a leather baseball mitt, with hand coloring, 1970. 889x895 mm; 35x35 1/4 inches. Signed and dated "November 29, 1970" with drypoint, lower right.

Provenance: acquired directly from the artist, Los Angeles (circa 1974); private collection, Rochester, New York.

Exhibited: Three Graphic Artists, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, January 26 - March 7, 1971; Brockman Gallery, Los Angeles, and Wylan Gallery, Los Angeles, with the gallery labels on the back. Also an entry label to Art for 1971, Southern California Exposition, Del Mar, CA, June 24 - July 5, 1971, on the frame back.

This significant assemblage work was one of 11 works by the artist included in the ground-breaking LACMA exhibtion Three Graphic Artists. Organized by LACMA curator Joseph E. Young, the exhibition of works by Timothy Washington, David Hammons and Charles White was organized in a response to growing public criticism and pressure from the Black Art Council led by Claude Booker and Cecil Fergerson. But the museum's decision to show the senior and distinguished Charles White with accomplished but then emerging artists Hammons and Washington in only a small gallery space for the prints and drawings department was controversial.

The powerful Raw Truth includes Washington's deft use of figurative imagery with assemblage materials and an innovative technique. The artist first painted the aluminum plate black and drew the imagery with an engraving tool - similar to a mezzotint or a scratchboard. The evocative imagery of a cattle yoke and a figure bending a stick in Raw Truth is described by Young, and by the artist himself, in the catalogue:

"I feel that a given society or the system that we lìve in can only bear a certain amount of pressure before it breaks down. That's why in Raw Truth there is the bending of the stick. The cow in relation to the figure applies to life itself and its relationship to knowledge. The cow demands a certain amount of responsibility, and in return we get mílk from it. This is a give-and-take situation which l feel should be applied to life."

The twenty three-year old Washington had just graduated from the Chouinard Art Insitute two years earlier. Washington showed his assemblage work, drawings and sculpture at the Brockman Gallery, Gallery 32 and Wylan Gallery in Los Angeles through the 1970s.

Today his important, early body of work has largely been overlooked. While his work was included in the influential 2011 Tilton Gallery exhibiton L. A. Object & David Hammons Body Prints, it was not in the 2012 traveling museum exhibition Now Dig This! Art & Black Los Angeles 1960-1980. The Los Angeles artist recently had his first solo museum exhibition at the California Craft & Folk Art Museum in 2014.