African American Art: March 31, 2022 Auction Highlights

Lot 38: Norman Lewis, Untitled (Rhodedendrons), oil on canvas, circa 1948. Estimate $350,000 to $500,000.

Our spring auction of African American Art features many scarce and significant postwar and contemporary artworks. The sale’s top lot is a large 1948 painting by Norman Lewis—Lewis’s striking organic abstraction is based on the rhododendrons in his New York studio. The Chase, oil on board, by Bob Thompson is also a scarce and early work—this expressionist painting is from Thompson’s brief, but important, period in Provincetown in the summer of 1958. Both modernist paintings were acquired directly from the artists, and are being exhibited publicly for the first time. 

Other post-war highlights include Kenneth Victor Young’s Night Push, a quintessential stained 1972 abstract canvas; Ed Clark’s Space Form III, a large 1982 example of his “push broom” abstract work in pigment on paper; and two wonderful early 1980s mixed media assemblages by Howardena Pindell.

The contemporary section features a group of 28 artworks from a private collection, including paintings, photographs and prints by such artists as Mequitta Ahuja, Barbara Bullock, Elizabeth Catlett, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Awol Erizku, Xaviera Simmons, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker and Carrie Mae Weems. Other contemporary highlights are two striking figurative works with Surrealist overtones: Intolerancia, a 1998 collograph by Belkis Ayón, and Quandary, a 1997 oil painting by Hughie Lee-Smith.

Related Reading: Artist Profile — Belkis Ayón

Lot 127: Ed Clark, Spatial Image III, pastel and dry pigment on paper, 1982. Estimate $100,000 to $150,000.
Lot 57: Hughie Lee-Smith, Aftermath, oil on canvas, circa 1960. Estimate $120,000 to $180,000.
Lot 63: Charles Alston, Family in Cityscape, oil on canvas, circa 1964-66. Estimate $80,000 to $120,000. 

Related Reading: Artists Working in Mixed Media & Assemblage

 Lot 206: Mequitta Ahuja, Bramble, oil on canvas, 2009. Estimate $30,000 to $40,000.
Lot 212: Mickalene Thomas, Liz and Chair with Zebra, C-print, 2013. Estimate $30,000 to $40,000.