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Bill Traylor (1854-1949)
Bill Traylor (1854-1949)

Two Women in Orange, Two Men in Blue, 1939-1942

Bill Traylor (1854-1949)
Two Women in Orange, Two Men in Blue, 1939-1942
retains Charles Shannon label on back, H 92 Two Men, Two Women
graphite, colored pencil and blue and black tempera on repurposed card
25 7/8 x 15 in.
Charles Shannon, Montgomery, Alabama
Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago
Frank Maresca and Roger Ricco, Bill Traylor: his art, his life (New York, 1991), p. 115.

Condition report

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Lot Essay

After a lifetime on a plantation, former slave Bill Traylor moved to Montgomery, Alabama. There, from a doorstep on Monroe Street, he composed starkly modernist images of lively animals, vibrant landscapes and active people. The dynamic, interacting figures in this oversized, compelling work are rendered in the artist’s signature style. The bold, rectilinear underdrawings that form the characters’ torsos anchor the figures on the card while the tempera and colored pencil patterns flesh out the bodies, providing personality and dynamism. Traylor’s multi-figure compositions are among his most sought-after works, as they reveal Traylor’s observations of the world around him and of human dynamics. Drawings of this impressive scale are rare, further adding to the importance and impact of this piece.

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