Oct 09, 2014 - Sale 2359

Sale 2359 - Lot 8

Price Realized: $ 57,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 20,000 - $ 30,000
WILLIAM E. ARTIS (1914 - 1977)

Terra cotta, mounted on a wood base, circa 1946-50. Approximately 356 mm; 14 inches high. 560 mm; 22-inches high, including the base. Signed in the turtle neck collar, verso.

Provenance: Richard A. Long, Atlanta; thence by descent to his estate.

Vernon is a large and stylized head by William E. Artis and is typical of his beautiful modern sculpture in terra cotta. Like his Michael in the collection of the North Carolina Museum of Art, and Head of a Boy in the Amistad Research Center, Vernon is a fine example of his 1940s portraits of African-American youth that he made with a distinctive and sensitive realism.

Born in Washington, NC, William Ellisworth Artis moved to New York during the Harlem Renaissance like fellow North Carolina native artists Charles Alston and Romare Bearden. Artis took private sculpture lessons with Augusta Savage and studied with Robert Laurent at the Art Students League with a Harmon Foundation scholarship. After service in the Air Force during World War II, Artis studied at the New York State College of Ceramics. Following the successful completion of his second certificate program, according to Daniel Schulman, Artis applied to the Rosenwald Fund in 1946 (for the second time); he was awarded a fellowship 'to work with the native clays of Alabama in the production of creative sculpture and sculptured free form ceramic ware." Artis decided late in the process to collaborate with the Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic (1883- 1962), newly appointed to Syracuse University, who was known for his attention to surface effect and finish. Schulman p. 134; Nolting pp. 58-59, 89.