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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    DC Moore Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, DC Moore Gallery, Whitfield Lovell: Kith and Kin, October 2 - November 8, 2008

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born 1959, Bronx, NY

    1981 BFA, The Cooper Union School of Art, New York, NY

    Selected honors: National Academy Award for Excellence, New York, NY (2014); Malvina Hoffman Artist Fund Prize for Sculpture, National Academy Museum, New York, NY (2009); MacArthur Fellows Program (2007)
    Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Seattle Art Museum, WA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
    Selected public collections: Brooklyn Museum, NY; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

    History, memory and identity are at the core of Whitfield Lovell’s practice. For almost 30 years, Lovell has created nuanced portraits of anonymous African Americans by combining exceptional draftsmanship with evocative found images and objects he finds at flea markets, antique stores and estate sales. Lovell, who counts his earliest memories as being of his father developing family photographs in their Bronx apartment, bases his detailed drawings on pre-Civil Rights era photographs and tintypes. While matching the photographs’ precision, he often draws these portraits on stained and weathered wood and juxtaposes the evocative images with objects that seem to point to different moments of U.S. history.

    As Kimberly Lamm, writing for The Brooklyn Rail on the subject of Lovell’s solo exhibition at DC Moore Gallery in 2008, highlighted the present work: “The objects Lovell places within the frame of these portraits do not reveal historical or narrative context easily. In ‘Cut’ (2008), Lovell depicts a middle-aged woman in a thick coat that buttons loosely at the waist. She wears a day bonnet at a sharp angle and is posed looking diagonally across the frame with hurt and determined eyes. In the wood plank furthest to the right are the lacy remnants of a floral wallpaper that give a sense of gentility and beauty to the work, but also contrast sharply with the two axes and two nails Lovell has placed to her left. The axes suggest the violence against which this woman may have defended herself, but this response relies too easily on narratives of her victimization. How do we see this woman in relation to racist violence without cutting into her image with cruel simplicity? Lovell’s work offers the possibility of reading images of African-Americans without filling in our gaps of knowledge too quickly.”



signed "Whitfield Lovell Whitfield Lovell" on the reverse
conte crayon and wallpaper on wood with axes and nails
45 1/2 x 36 3/4 x 4 in. (115.6 x 93.3 x 10.2 cm.)
Executed in 2008.

Estimate on Request



New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019