Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Untitled 32726

2017.8.9

Artist

Norman Lewis

Title

Untitled

Creation Date

1961

Century

mid-20th century

Dimensions

26 x 19 in. (66 x 48 cm)

Object Type

drawing/painting

Creation Place

North America, American

Medium and Support

oil on paper

Credit Line

Gift of halley k harrisburg, Class of 1990, and Michael Rosenfeld

Copyright

This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

2017.8.9
As a central figure among the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, Norman Lewis was celebrated for his dynamic calligraphic and atmospheric abstractions. One of the few African American artists of his generation working in abstraction, he was inspired by such varied sources as music, nature, and the civil rights movement. Like his colleagues of the New York School, the forms he explored were derived from an organic abstraction rooted in Cubism and Surrealism. At the same time, this atmospheric work can be contextualized in an entirely different cultural tradition, that of Chinese landscape painting. Lewis was passionate about Chinese and Japanese art—he read voraciously about it, as his personal library attests—and here one might see echoes of a hanging scroll painting of a mountainous landscape, in which bright peaks and shaded valleys recede into the distance.

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