Norman Lewis, City Night, oil on wood panel, 1949.
Norman Lewis’s City Night, which sold on June 24th in Swann’s Out of the Blue: Modern Art & Jazzauction, is featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s Abstract Expressionist New Yorkexhibition that opens Sunday. In City Night, Lewis condensed the abstraction of New York tenements into a denser, organic grid bisected with lines representing the clothes and power lines strung between buildings. The “black” painting was one of the artist’s earliest abstract paintings to appear at auction.
Ann Temkin, who organized the show at MoMA, discusses the work in the audio portion of the exhibition website, saying that the painting “exemplifies how abstraction and representation are not necessarily always opposites.”