The Legacy of Norman Lewis; RBG’s Picassos at Auction

Norman Lewis 1909-1979

The goal of the artist must be aesthetic development, and in a universal sense, to make in his own way some contribution to culture. – Norman Lewis

Norman Lewis hoped to bring about change with his Social Realist works of the 1940s. As fine as they were, they didn’t bring about the change he hoped they would. It was Lewis, himself, who brought changes to the art world.

Norman Lewis

His early paintings of African-American culture in Harlem kept his works out of the mainstream galleries and his later Abstract Expressionist works kept him out of the African-American galleries.

He did get some scattered acknowledgment. In 1951 MoMA included Lewis’s work in the influential exhibition Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America. He was an invited exhibitor in a show organized by the Art Institute of Chicago to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale of 1956.

Norman Lewis
Evening Rhapsody, 1955

It has taken some time, but today the works of Norman Lewis are garnering the acclaim that they deserve.

Last May, Evening Rhapsody, done in 1955, sold at Sotheby’s for $1,714,000.

Norman Lewis (1909-1979) Untitled, 1960

Norman Lewis
Untitled, 1960
Oil on paper
19 x 24 inches
Available at Surovek Gallery

In a 2016 interview with CBS, Lewis’ stepdaughter, Tarin Fuller, said that the artist told her that “he didn’t expect to be noticed for thirty or forty years, maybe even longer.” ‘He called it,” Fuller said with a smile, “Just like he could call the horses.”

Pablo Picasso 1881-1973

Eleanor Davis
Portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
From the estate of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

More than 150 items from the estate of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September, 2020, were auctioned in April. Many were displayed in her Watergate apartment, including a ceramic work by Pablo Picasso that stood on a pedestal in the living room.

The Washington, D.C. apartment of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Pablo Picasso pottery displayed on a pedestal.

RBG had several ceramic works by Picasso, which were auctioned along with other personal items. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Washington National Opera, one of her favorite passions. She took part in at least three productions over the years, including a speaking (not singing) role for one night in 2016.

Pablo Picasso
Poisson, 1953
Partially glazed terra-cotta pitcher
8.66 inches
Edition: 500
Stamped and Marked: Edition Picasso/Madoura Plein Feu/EditionPicasso/Madoura
© 2022 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
For sale at Surovek Gallery

Pablo Picasso was inspired to create pottery after seeing a pottery exhibit in Vallauris, in the south of France, in 1946. He met the owners of Madoura pottery. They gave him access to their workshop in exchange for producing and selling his work.

Pablo Picasso
Figure de Proue, 1952
Madoura Pottery
8.625 inches high
Edition: 101/300
Signed on bottom: Edition Picasso and
stamped with manufacturer’s mark
© 2022 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
For sale at Surovek Gallery

The artist spent summers in the south of France. The playfulness of his pottery reflects what were relaxing summers spent on the Cote d’Azur.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Norman Lewis and Pablo Picasso available at Surovek Gallery.

ArtfixDaily. Phillips Announces Highlights from New York Day Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art. April 28, 2022.
Victoria L. Valentine. Evening Rhapsody: Norman Lewis Painting Owned by Playwright Lynn Nottage Sells for Near-Record $1.7 Million at Sotheby’s. Culture Type. May 25, 2021.
Johnny Diaz. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Art and Mementos Go Up for Auction. April 21, 2022.
Sarah Rose Sharp. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Personal Art Collection Is Up for Auction. Hyperallergic. April 19, 2022.
Andrea Swalec. Ruth Bader Ginsburg Art to Be Auctioned in Alexandria. NBC News. March 22, 2022.
2022-05-11T07:55:50-04:00 May 4th, 2022|

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