CHASE HALL (B. 1993)
CHASE HALL (B. 1993)
CHASE HALL (B. 1993)
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more
CHASE HALL (B. 1993)

Earl Hooker Blues in D Natural

Details
CHASE HALL (B. 1993)
Earl Hooker Blues in D Natural
signed, titled and dated ‘EARL HOOKER BLUES iN D NATURAL, 2020 chase hall’ (on the overlap)
acrylic and coffee on cotton canvas
48 x 48in. (121.9 x 121.9cm.)
Painted in 2020
Provenance
Various Small Fires, Los Angeles.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Executed in 2020, Earl Hooker Blues in D Natural is Chase Hall’s tribute to the Chicago-based blues guitarist Earl Hooker. Demonstrating the artist’s enduring love of music, it occupies fascinating territory within a practice dedicated to examining Black history and identity. Titled after the 1960 track ‘Blues in D Natural’, the work depicts Hooker playing a twin-headed guitar: an instrument he pioneered. Though deeply admired by peers such as B. B. King, particularly for his virtuosic slide technique, Hooker never achieved mainstream public recognition during his lifetime. His 1961 track ‘Blue Guitar’ was overdubbed by Muddy Waters in 1962, giving rise to the song ‘You Shook Me’ which was famously covered by Led Zeppelin seven years later. The band’s guitarist Jimmy Page, notably, would later become indelibly associated with the twin-headed guitar. For Hall, who seeks to shed light upon marginalised Black narratives, such thorny genealogies offer powerful sources of inspiration.

With no formal artistic training, Hall taught himself to paint using canvases and stretchers discarded by students at New York University. He was deeply influenced by Henry Taylor’s portrait of Dizzy Gillespie’s nephew Will, which he first encountered in the Museum of Modern Art, as well as by artists including Jacob Lawrence, David Hammons and Kerry James Marshall. Hall is noted for his deployment of coffee bean stain, often mixed with acrylic, as well as his use of raw cotton in place of white paint. The tonal and textural hybridity of these materials—both associated with colonial exploitation—play into his explorations of his own biracial identity. Hall has gained widespread recognition for this practice over the past few years, with institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art all acquiring paintings from his first New York show in 2021. His monumental commission Medea Act I & II is currently on view at the Metropolitan Opera, as is his solo exhibition at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia.

While Hall’s subjects stem from many walks of life, he is particularly inspired by music. As a child he gained a love of hip-hop, blues and jazz from his older brother, who worked as a DJ in Las Vegas. The present work takes its place alongside depictions of Black musical artists such as Thelonious Monk and Eric Dolphy; his 2020 painting A Great Day In Harlem, meanwhile, is based on the landmark 1958 photo by Art Kane depicting 57 jazz musicians of the time. Yet the influence of music ultimately extends beyond Hall’s subject matter. The present work is alive with a powerful sense of improvisation, its forms and textures emerging organically from its materials. Hall relishes the unpredictable consistency of his paint, which slips and slides with the fluidity of a blues guitar riff. The unprimed cotton, meanwhile, functions as a kind of negative space, the weave of the linen laid bare. In the friction between the two, Hall teases out moments of harmony and discord, eloquently confronting the complex landscape of Black musical history.

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