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Charles Alston, (African American; 1907 - 1977), Rockin' n' Rhythm, Lithograph, 5" x 4"
Estimate: $4,000.00 - $6,000.00
(African American; 1907 - 1977)
Rockin' n' Rhythm
c. 1938. Signed.
Charles Henry "Spinky" Alston was a painter, sculptor, illustrator, muralist, and teacher who lived and worked in Harlem the majority of his life. Born in 1907 in Charlotte, North Carolina, his family relocated to New York after his father's untimely death and his mother's remarriage to Henry Pierce Bearden, Romare Bearden's uncle. He attended Columbia University and Columbia University's Teaching College. It was while there that he began teaching at the Harlem Arts Workshop, founded by Augusta Savage. In 1938, the Rosenwald Fund provided money for Alston to travel to the South, which was his first return there since leaving as a child. His travel with Giles Hubert, an inspector for the Farm Security Administration, gave him access to certain situations and he photographed many aspects of rural life. These photographs served as the basis for a series of genre portraits' depicting southern black life.
In 1950, he became the first African-American instructor at the Art Students League. In 1953 he had his first solo exhibition at the John Heller Gallery, and in 1963 he co-founded the artist's collective Spiral with Romare Bearden and Hale Woodruff.
Alston's style varied from abstraction to realism as a sculptor, painter, illustrator, and print maker. This diversity reflects influences ranging from Egyptian and Oceanic art to more contemporary artistic styles like Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. His figures characteristically maintain a sculpture like quality derived from his earlier studies in African sculpture. His subjects, however, were derived mainly from the experiences of his life and time. Alston states, "As an artist . . . I am intensely interested in probing, exploring the problems of color, space and form, which challenge all contemporary painters. However, as a black American . . . I cannot but be sensitive and responsive in my painting to the injustice, the indignity, and the hypocrisy suffered by black citizens."
His work can be found in the collections of many major institutions, including, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Atlanta University, the Butler Institute, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
5" x 4"