Lot 273: ALMA WOODSEY THOMAS (1891-1978), “Untitled,” circa 1970 (watercolor on paper, 13.2 x 15.75 inches framed). | Estimate $20,000-$30,000


Women working in Abstract Expressionism and an array of artists active in Chicago are among the highlights of the Sept. 15 African American Fine Art Auction at Treadway Gallery in Cincinnati. The gallery has assembled an exceptional selection of artworks made over the past century, including a large circa 1958 abstract painting by Hale Woodruff and a powerful graphite drawing by Charles White, a study for his well-known composition “Frederick Douglass Lives Again (The Ghost of Frederick Douglass),” dated 1949.

Modern masters such as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, and Charles Alston are represented. A bright abstract by Beauford Delaney, a 1965 watercolor on paper in sherbet hues, is from the estate of artist Merton Simpson. Paintings include an untitled interior scene by Palmer Hayden (c. 1940), “Untitled, Landscape with Figures and Animals” (1964) produced in saturated hues by Bob Thompson, and “Slice of Cotton Harvest” (1995) by John Biggers.

Showcasing a broad selection of artists, the 136-lot sale begins with a vibrant watercolor by Alma Thomas. Executed in a vertical, rhythmic pattern, the untitled circa 1970 work exemplifies the artist’s exuberant style. Evangeline J. Montgomery and Mavis Pusey, who died a few months ago, are also represented. Thomas, Montgomery, and Pusey were featured in the traveling exhibition “Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today.”

AfriCOBRA artists Napoleon Jones, James Phillips, Nelson Stevens, and Wadsworth Jarrell, a co-founder of the Chicago collective established in 1968, are featured. Selections also include works by Chicago artists Ralph Arnold, Margaret Burroughs, Bernard Goss, Gus Nall, Walter Sanford, and Charles Sebree. Goss was the first husband of Burroughs, a transformational figure in city’s art community. An early nautical scene, “Chicago River” (c. 1905) is by Ontario-born painter James Bolivar Needham, who settled in Chicago.

With lot estimates ranging from $300 to $60,000, the auction includes paintings, works on paper, and sculpture. Of particular note is “Mother and Child” (c. 1945-49) a black Oaxacan clay sculpture by Sargent Johnson. “Yansa,” (1993) is an acrylic on canvas portrait by Samella Lewis. Four works by Lois Mailou Jones are offered. In addition, the sale includes prints by critically recognized contemporary artists such as Emma Amos, Frank Bowling, Sam Gilliam, Betye Saar, Lorna Simpson, and William T. Williams.

The auction is organized by Thom Pegg, who operates Tyler Fine Art in St. Louis. The gallery owner’s expertise in African American art dates back three decades. Pegg has served as Treadway’s fine art expert since 1995 and staged the gallery’s first African American art auction in 2014.

View Auction Lots

The auction is Sept. 15, 2019 at 2 pm EDT. Buyers may bid online, by phone, or in person at 2029 Madison Road, Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit treadwaygallery.com or call (513) 321-6742


This post is sponsored by Treadway Gallery


Lot 405: HENRY T. HEADING (b. 1957), “Joe Louis, The Brown Bomber,” circa 2017 (oil on masonite and assemblage, 3-dimensional wooden elements with nails and bolts, 55 x 45 inches framed). | Estimate $15,000-$20,000


Lot 314: HALE WOODRUFF (1900-1980), “Untitled Abstract,” circa 1958 (oil on canvas, 47 x 32 inches framed). | Estimate $40,000-$60,000