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Sale 2255 Lot 34
THELMA JOHNSON STREAT (1911 - 1959)
Watercolor and ink on thin cardstock, circa 1940. 292x305 mm; 11 1/2x12 inches. Signed and titled in ink, lower right.
With--Asian Girl, watercolor, on the verso.
Provenance: estate of the artist, Oregon.
Illustrated: (verso) Bullington, Judy, Thelma Johnson Streat and the Cultural Synthesis on the West Coast, in American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, pl. 6, p. 97.
This double-sided watercolor is only the second painting by Thelma Johnson Streat to come to auction, and the first in her representational, mural style of figuration. Thelma Johnson Streat was one of the few artists to paint directly with Diego Rivera on his Pan-American Unity mural at the 1940 Golden Gate Exposition. The state supervisor of the WPA project, Beatrice Judd Ryann, described them at work on the mural: "Rivera stands high up on the scaffold, his awkward bulk emphasized by the color girl, Thelma Streat, beside him, tall and slim in her blue jeans."
Louis Armstrong differs from her modernist gouaches, like Asian Girl on the verso, that focus on abstract forms found in Native American, Asian and African art. Her Rabbit Man, 1941, was the first painting by an African-American woman to be exhibited and purchased by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1942. Today, her work is found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Honolulu Academy of the Arts. Bullington p. 95.
Estimate $6,000 - 9,000