Sunday, April 5, 2009

National Gallery acquires Norman Lewis' Untitled (Alabama)

On Friday the National Gallery announced that through the Collectors Committee of the National Gallery of Art, the museum acquired Untitled (Alabama) (1967) by Norman Lewis, an African-American painter who references the civil rights struggle of the 1960s in his work.

It's the first painting by Lewis to enter the Gallery's collection, and Untitled (Alabama) is one of his "black paintings," notable for flame-like strokes of white and black that move across the canvas in a suggestion of the confrontations that occurred during the civil rights movement.

There's no official title for the painting, but Lewis' widow says that he called this work "Alabama." It is in the shape of the state, and a Klansman's hood is visible in the design.

Norman Lewis, Untitled (Alabama), 1967. oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of the Collectors Committee, 2009

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