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Norman Wilfred Lewis (American, 1909-1979) Abstract

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American & European Works of Art - 3293B
Date / Time :
September 27, 2019 12:00PM


Norman Wilfred Lewis (American, 1909-1979)

Signed and dated "NORMAN LEWIS. 66" l.l.
Oil on canvas, 38 x 56 in. (96.5 x 142.2 cm), unstretched, unframed.
Condition: Prominent craquelure and flaking with losses, rippling resulting from being rolled.

Provenance: Private collection, Massachusetts.

N.B. By the mid-1940s, New York painter Norman Lewis had abandoned the figurative, social realist style that he had pursued earlier in his career for abstraction. He employed broad, gestural brushstrokes and looked to diverse sources for inspiration, including music, nature, the work of other modern and contemporary artists, and issues of social justice and equality. By the early 1960s, his paintings had lost most representational associations, though his rhythmic arrangements of straight and curvilinear lines certainly hint at the figural. This painting is a splendid example of the artist's mature style, characterized by calligraphic brushstrokes and brilliant color. In 1963, Lewis helped to form Spiral, a group of African American artists including Romare Bearden, Felrath Hines, and Hale Woodruff, that was concerned with their roles in the civil rights movement and the art world in general. The collective had disbanded by 1966, the year Lewis painted this work; however, he remained concerned with his position as an African American artist associated with Abstract Expressionist art.
Estimate $8,000-10,000

Areas of craquelure, flaking, pigment loss, and surface grime lie throughout the canvas. There are tears to the upper tacking edge at center and to the corners at the turning edges. A horizontal tear at lower left measures approximately 1 inch. There is a large stain with mold or similar apparent on the right side of the reverse.

Dimensions given represent the size if stretched.

Items may have wear and tear, imperfections, or the effects of aging. Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.