25 November 2003
A SET OF FOUR VITREOUS ENAMEL PANELS FUSED ON STEEL
Circa 1935, Russell Barnett Aitken
Depicting stylized warriors with shields and spears and musicians with drums
each panel 108 in.(274.5cm.) high, 34 in.(86.4cm.) wide
One panel signed lower right RUSSELL BARNETT AITKEN
Russell B. Aitken's artwork won numerous awards and prizes and is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney and the Cleveland Museum of Art. In the early 1930's, Aitken studied in Vienna under Josef Hoffmann and Professor Michael Powolny at the Kunstgewerbeschule.
The present lot was designed and fired by Mr. Aitken in 1935. It reflects not only the period's fascination with tribal themes and motifs, but also Aitken's own impressions from his travels on the African continent.
These striking panels known as "Devil Dance" were originally incorporated as part of the exterior of "Tamerlane", Annie Laurie Crawford's Estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, which was designed by Russell Barnett Aitken in collaboration with the architect, William Lescaze. At the time it was the largest enamel mural ever fired. (4)
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Town & Country, 'Guest House With Outdoor Pool', November 1942, p. 65 for an illustration of the panels in situ.
New York, New York, The Walker Galleries, The Work of Russell Barnett Aitken, April 1937.
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