Apr 07, 2016 - Sale 2409

Sale 2409 - Lot 68

Price Realized: $ 27,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 30,000 - $ 40,000
The Messengers

Acrylic on cotton canvas, 1979. 1727x1219 mm; 68x48 inches. Signed and dated in acrylic, lower right.

Provenance: acquired directly from the artist; private collection, Georgia.

This significant painting by Wadsworth Jarrell is his largest and first work on canvas from his important 1970s period to come to auction. In 1978, Wadsworth Jarrell left his position teaching at Howard University in Washington, DC and joined the faculty at the University of Georgia in Athens. This painting is part of a series he begun in 1977 based on images from a trip to Nigeria. In both The Messengers and Soweto, 1977, Jarrell incorporates enlogated, large African figures with a mix of contemporary objects and Dogon symbols. Here the message is more overtly political - The Messengers carry on their heads baskets of not only fish and bottles of beer, but also hand grenades, and some bottles have fuses.

Wadsworth Jarrell was a leading figure of the Black Arts movement and one of the founding members of the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA) the artist collective that he and fellow artists Barbara Jones-Hogu, Jeff Donaldson, Jae Jarrell, Napoleon Henderson, Nelson Stevens and Gerald Williams formed in Chicago in 1969. He is best known for his 1971 iconic painting Revolutionary that was exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem in the AfriCOBRA II exhibition from 1971-72 and is now in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum. Douglas pp. 49 - 53.