African American Art: April 6, 2023 Auction Highlights

Left: Lot 195: Winfred Rembert, Doll’s Head Baseball, dye on cared & tooled leather, circa 2006. Estimate $120,000 to $180,000; right: Lot 196: Winfred Rembert, Jeff’s Pool Room, dye on carved & tooled leather, circa 2015. Estimate $100,000 to $150,000.

Our April 6 African American Art auction features an exciting range of scarce and significant art from the Harlem Renaissance to the contemporary. We are thrilled to offer an outstanding painting by the great Ernie Barnes – his 1973 acrylic on canvas painting, Daddy, captures the essence of his expressive figuration of the early 1970s. Bidders will also have the opportunity to explore two excellent works by Winfred Rembert in his unique medium of painting on carved and tooled leather - Doll’s Head Baseball and Jeff’s Pool Room, both depicting scenes from his life growing up in the Jim Crow South. 

The post-war period is headlined by a significant, six foot 1971 painting by Kenneth Victor Young featuring his quintessential colorful floating orbs, as well as early examples by Norman Lewis and Beauford Delaney from the 1950s. 

Lot 45: Kenneth Victor Young, Untitled, acrylic on cotton canvas, 1971. Estimate $100,000 to $150,000.
Left: Lot 21: Norman Lewis, Untitled (Birds), oil on cotton canvas, circa 1951-52. Estimate $150,000 to $250,000; right: Lot 90: Ernie Barnes, Daddy, acrylic on cotton canvas, 1973. Estimate $250,000 to $350,000.

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The auction features two exciting groups of politically and socially conscious artists from the early 1970s. The first is a group of work by the Chicago AfriCOBRA artists and others of the Black Arts Movement, including paintings and scarce screenprints by Wadsworth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Cliff Joseph, Charles Searles and Nelson Stevens. The second group exhibits an incredible collection of work by Los Angeles artists from the estate of Naomi Caryl Hirshhorn, a longtime art collector and patron in Los Angeles, as well as the daughter of financier and collector Joseph H. Hirshhorn. Selections include paintings and collages by Suzanne Jackson, Gloria Bohanon, Dan Concholar and scarce prints by Samella Lewis.  

Figurative paintings are well represented, including an early 1949 Hughie Lee-Smith oil painting of a nude model and his beautiful The Ribbon, circa 1960. 

Lot 27: Hughie Lee-Smith, The Ribbon, oil on linen canvas, circa 1960. Estimate $120,000 to $180,000.

The auction will offer notable works on paper by contemporary artists, including a 1972 Betye Saar erotic watercolor and a large 1982 pastel figure drawing by Emma Amos. 

Our contemporary art section ends with two significant and very scarce multiples – the expressive 2017 Untitled (Man) woodcut of Kerry James Marshall and Deana Lawson’s iconic photograph, Baby Sleep, 2009, at auction for the first time.

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