African-American Art Featured at Gray’s Auctioneers Gray’s Auctioneers’ May 15th Fine Art, Antiques and Decorative Arts Auction features a number of stellar artworks by African-American artists including Jacob Lawrence, Roy DeCarava, and Gene Gant.
News-Antique.com - May 11,2013 - Gray’s Auctioneers’ May 15 Fine Art, Antiques and Decorative Arts Auction features a number of stellar artworks by African-American artists. One such stunning piece is Lot 54, The Seamstresses, painted in 1954 by famed African-American artist and master of the Harlem Renaissance, Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence gained national acclaim as a painter while still a young man in his twenties when a portion of his work from the Migrations Series, a suite of paintings depicting the early twentieth-century passage of African-Americans from the Deep South to the urban North, was featured in a 1941 issue of Fortune Magazine. His paintings illuminate the black and working class experience in the United States and he is recognized among the greats of African-American artists alongside Augusta Savage and Romare Bearden. The New York Times has called Lawrence "one of America's leading modern figurative painters" and "among the most impassioned visual chroniclers of the African-American experience.”
In addition to this spectacular painting by Lawrence, Gray’s auction also highlights a collection of rare early screenprints by another great Harlem artist, Roy DeCarava. While the art world recognizes DeCarava primarily for his work in photography, these early screenprints illustrate the artist’s development of an introspective approach to art and dramatic exaggeration of reality with particular attention given to the African-American experience, for which he has been so praised. The collection of DeCarava’s works, which comprise Lots 55 through 59 in the auction, includes as an intimate, close-up image of a male African-American youth and also a dynamic view of a Harlem tenement airshaft with suspended clothes lines. These highly personal images also demonstrate DeCarava’s dynamic approach to composition that would progress naturally to the photographic medium.
Finally, Gray’s is thrilled to have included in this fine gathering of African-American artworks, a fantastic collection of ceramics by Ohio-native artist Gene Gant. Regrettably, there is very little known about Gant and his career. He supposedly attended Kent State University in the 1970s and trained as a ceramicist in the School of Art under a primarily white faculty. According to some accounts, Gene’s talent earned him a surfeit of recognition from the local art establishment, much to chagrin of his more established and experienced professors. Gant was reportedly alienated by the department for his success to such an extent that he eventually left the university and abandoned his work. Though his story as an artist ended prematurely, one must only view Gant’s artworks to see that his accomplishments as a student ceramicist were well deserved. His pieces, which are offered in Gray’s auction as Lots 295 through 312, demonstrate his brilliant command of organic color, texture, and form. Gray’s hopes to reignite interest in this forgotten artist and see recognition of both his name and his art restored.
The complete illustrated catalog for this auction can be found at GraysAuctioneers.com. Live, telephone, absentee, and internet bidding is available for this and every sale. Live online bidding is also offered at LiveAuctioneers.com. Condition reports and shipping estimates are available upon request.