A powerful charcoal drawing by Charles White, Caliban, 1950, is one of the top lots in the sale. Never exhibited publicly, this rediscovered work is a striking depiction of the important character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest as a muscular, enchained figure. Romare Bearden’s important work in collage and photomontage is epitomized by Early Morning, 1968-69.
Postwar abstraction includes Hale Woodruff ’s striking Celestial Door, oil on canvas, circa 1967. The work is an example of his Celestial Gate series, in which the artist created abstract shapes based on the forms of Ashanti gold weights and Dogon dwelling doors from Mali. Norman Lewis’s Block Island, oil on canvas, 1973-75, is an impressive magenta and gray example of the artist’s 1970s period.
Contemporary art is well-represented by dynamic women who have pushed the boundaries of their media: Simone Leigh’s provocative, untitled earthenware vessel from her 2005 series; Howardena Pindell’s Untitled #1, 1980-81, one of the artist’s signature collages of cut, pasted and painted punched paper with thread and nails; and Faith Ringgold’s story quilt Sleeping: Lover’s Quilt #2, 1986, one of her unique narrative works telling an intimate and unexpected story.
Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Running Freed More Slaves Than Lincoln Ever Did, oil and mixed media on canvas, 1995. Estimate $40,000 to $60,000.