“Juba” (1965) by Charles White


THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS selected Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Greatest Migration” for its campus book project during the 2012-13 academic year. In conjunction with the campus-wide reading, Nelson Gallery at UC Davis presented “Migration: Jacob Lawrence and Elizabeth Catlett,” further exploring the theme African American migration through visual art.

The 2013 exhibition featured works from two private collections. Prints from Jacob Lawrence’s The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture Series were on loan from Dr. Sarah D. Gray, a UC Davis professor of physiology and membrane biology and avid collector of African American art.

Gray was an active supporter of Nelson Gallery and a champion of Black artists. Over the decades, she assembled an impressive collection of prints by acclaimed artists, primarily 20th century African American artists, including Lawrence, Elizabeth, Catlett, Charles White, Romare Bearden, Hale Woodruff, James Lesesne Wells, John Biggers, and Lois Mailou Jones. Gray also acquired works by contemporary figures such as Sam Gilliam, Artis Lane, Betye Saar, Alison Saar, and Jonathan Green.

A School of Medicine faculty member for nearly 40 years and a trailblazer in her field, Gray served as assistant vice provost of academic affairs before retiring in 2000. She died Nov. 8, 2020. She was 86.

Dr. Sarah Gray was an active supporter of Nelson Gallery at the University of California, Davis and a champion of Black artists.

In Los Angeles, Bonhams is selling selections from the Collection of Dr. Sarah Gray. The auction house said Gray’s family consigned the works and the selections represent the majority of her collection.

The works will be featured in the Prints & Multiples auction on Sept. 28. There are 286 lots in the sale. The first 46 lots are from Gray’s collection. About two dozen artists are included. Nine works by Catlett are available and four from Lawrence’s Toussaint L’Ouverture series are offered. CT


IMAGES: Top of page, Lot 40: CHARLES WILBERT WHITE (1918-1979), “Juba,” 1965 (lithograph, on Arches paper, stamp signed and annotated ‘Ed. 40’, printed by Joe Funk, with full margins, framed. 16 7/8 x 24 3/4 inches / 42.9 x 62.9cm; sheet 22 5/8 x 30 inches / 57.5 x 76.2cm). | Estimate $4,000-$6,000; Above left, Dr. Sarah Gray. | Courtesy Bonhams


FIND MORE in the digital catalog, where Dr. Sarah Gray’s works are featured on pages 6-27

FIND MORE about Dr. Sarah D. Gray in a publication celebrating early women faculty at the UC Davis School of Medicine (see page 18)


Lot 1: ROMARE BEARDEN (1914-1988), “Morning (Carolina Morning),” 1979 (lithograph in colors, on Somerset paper, 9/175, With margins, framed 19 1/4 x 25 inches / 48.9 x 63.5cm; sheet 21 7/8 x 27 7/8 inches / 55.6 x 70.8cm). | Estimate $4,000-$6,000


Lot 6: JOHN THOMAS BIGGERS (1924-2001), “Two Youths on Bench,” circa 1950 (lithograph, on wove paper, signed in pencil, With margins, framed: 14 3/8 x 17 3/8 inches / 36.5 x 44.1 cm; sheet 19 5/8 x 23 inches / 49.8 x 58.4 cm). | Estimate $1,500-$2,000


Lot 7: MARGARET TAYLOR GOSS BURROUGHS (1917-2010), “Mahalia,” 1963 (linocut, on wove paper, signed in ink, dated and numbered 2/5, with uneven margins, framed: 14 1/8 x 11 1/8 inches / 35.9 x 28.3 cm; sheet 16 1/8 x 11 7/8 inches / 41 x 30.2 cm). | Estimate $1,000-$1,500


Lot 11: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915-2012), Black Maternity, 1959 (lithograph, on wove paper, signed in pencil and dedicated ‘For Nettie Simons, sincerely’ (aside from the edition of 50), With margins, framed: 14 3/8 x 9 7/8 inches / 36.5 x 25.1 cm; sheet 18 1/2 x 12 7/8 inches / 47 x 32.7cm). | Estimate $3,000-$5,000


Lot 13: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915-2012), “Three Women of America,” 1990 (screenprint in colors, on heavy wove paper, 30 7/8 x 22 7/16 inches / 78.4 x 57 cm; sheet 37 1/8 x 28 inches / 94.3 x 71.1 cm), Signed in pencil, titled, dated and numbered 50/120, with the blindstamp of the printer, Lou Stovall’s Workshop Inc., Washington, D.C., with margins, framed. | Estimate $3,000-$4,000


Lot 17: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915-2012), “Maternidad,” 2001 (brown colored pencil on paper, sheet size 19 1/4 x 13 1/8 inches / 48.9 x 33.3 cm). | Estimate $4,000-$6,000


Lot 18: DAVID C. DRISKELL (1931-2020), “Neighbor,” 2001 (encaustic on paper, 5 x 5 inches / 12.7 x 12.7cm). | Estimate $1,000-$1,500


Lot 19: SAM GILLIAM (BORN 1933), “Wind,” 2005 (screenprint in colors with collage, on Rives BFK paper, sheet: 15 1/16 x 21 7/8 inches / 38.3 x 55.6 cm), Numbered 138/150, Printed to one side, framed. | Estimate $1,000-$1,500


Lot 21: JONATHAN GREEN (BORN 1955), “The Reception,” 1989 (lithograph in colors, on wove paper, 23 5/16 x 23 5/16 inches / 59.2 x 59.2 cm; sheet 29 7/8 x 26 13/16 inches / 75.9 x 68.1cm), Signed in pencil, titled, and numbered 28/100 (there were also 10 artist’s proofs), with the blindstamp of the publisher, JK Fine Art Editions, Co., New York, with margins, framed. | Estimate $3,000-$4,000


Lot 24: ARTIS LANE (BORN 1927), “Black Knight,” 1981 (gouache, ink, wash, crayon, pencil and blue ballpoint pen on paper, sheet size 23 5/8 x 18 inches / 60 x 45.7 cm). | Estimate $800-$1,200


Lot 26: JACOB LAWRENCE (1917-2000), “The Capture, from The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture,” 1987 (screenprint in colors, on heavy wove paper, With full margins, framed: 28 1/8 x 18 1/2 inches / 71.4 x 47 cm / sheet 32 1/8 x 22 1/16 inches / 81.6 x 56 cm), Numbered 43/120 (there were also 30 artist’s proofs), published by Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, with the blindstamp of the printer, Workshop, Inc., Washington D.C. | Estimate $4,000-$6,000


Lot 30: JACOB LAWRENCE (1917-2000), “The First Book of Moses Called Genesis,” 1989 (The complete bound volume with 8 screenprints in colors, on Whatman paper, With full margins, bound (as issued), with complete text by King James, in the original black linen-covered clamshell box. Each sheet 21 3/4 x 16 3/8 inches / 55.2 x 41.6cm; Overall 23 1/2 x 18 x 2 1/2 inches / 59.7 x 45.7 x 6.4 cm), Signed in pencil and numbered 72 on the colophon (one of 400 signed and numbered sets), published/printed by the Limited Editions Club/Osiris Screen Printing, New York. | Estimate $5,000-$7,000


Lot 31:JAMES LESESNE WELLS (1902-1993), “Primitive Boy,” 1928 (linocut, on Japan paper, With full margins, framed: 8 7/16 x 5 5/8 inches / 21.4 x 14.3 cm; sheet 13 1/4 x 12 1/8 inches / 33.7 x 30.8 cm), Numbered 7/35. | Estimate $2,000-$3,000


Lot 42: CHARLES WILBERT WHITE (1918-1979), “I Have a Dream,” 1976 (lithograph in brown-black, on Arches paper, with full margins, framed, sheet 22 3/8 x 30 1/4 inches / 56.8 x 76.8 cm), Annotated ‘A/P’ aside from the edition of 125, With the blindstamp of the publisher, Graphics Art Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to coincide with the exhibition “Two Centuries of Black American Art,” 1976, With the blindstamp of the printer, Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles. | Estimate $5,000-$7,000


FIND MORE Nelson Gallery, named for Richard L. Nelson, founding chair of the UC Davis Art Department, closed in 2015 to make way for the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, the impressive new museum on campus that opened in 2016. “Arnold Joseph Kemp: I would survive. I could survive. I should survive” is among the exhibitions currently on view. “Young, Gifted, and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art,” opens at the museum in June 2022


READ MORE about Jacob Lawrence’s The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture series on Culture Type


The catalog “Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle” accompanied the artist’s latest exhibition. “Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series” explores Lawrence’s most acclaimed series. Published this year, “Persevere and Resist: The Strong Black Women of Elizabeth Catlett” accompanied an exhibition at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tenn. The monograph “Elizabeth Catlett, Sculpture: A Fifty-Year Retrospective” spans the years 1946 to 1996. “Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series” accompanied the recent museum exhibition. “An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden” by Mary Schmidt Campbell provides a full account of the artist’s life. “Charles White: A Retrospective” documents the artist’s recent traveling exhibition. Also consider “Charles White: The Gordon Gift to The University of Texas.”


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