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Sale 2203 Lot 94
BETTY BLAYTON (1937 - )
Reaching for Center.
Oil and collage on canvas, 1970. 1470 mm; 58 inches diameter. Signed in oil, lower center.
Provenance: collection of the artist.
Exhibited: Black Artists: Two Generations, The Newark Museum, Newark, NJ, May 13 - September 16, 1971.
Illustrated: Farrington, Lisa E., Creating Their Own Image: The History of African-American Woman Artists, 2005, p. 193; The International Review of African American Art, Volume 20, Hampton University, VA, 2008, p. 423.
This large tondo is an important work and the first painting by this abstract painter and printmaker to come to auction. One of her best known paintings, Reaching for Center has been reproduced in numerous art books and exhibition catalogues since it was first shown in 1970. Known for their intense color, Betty Blayton's tondos from this period established her career as an abstract artist. A graduate of Syracuse University in 1959 with a B.A. in fine art, Blayton became one of the most active members of the rising new generation of female artists.
In addition to her work in the studio, Blayton was instrumental in opening avenues for African-American artists to exhibit in New York in the 1960s. She organized the Point/Counterpoint exhibitions at Lever House Gallery with Richard Clarke, was one of the founding board members of the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1968, and created the Museum of Modern Art's outreach program, Children's Art Carnival (CAC), in 1968. Today, her works can be found in the collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.