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La Puerto Del Sol

20th century
130.2 cm x 161.9 cm (51 1/4 in. x 63 3/4 in.)

Norman Wilfred Lewis (New York, New York, 1909 - 1979, New York, New York) Primary

Object Type: painting
Artist Nationality: North America, American
Medium and Support: Oil on linen canvas
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of the Longview Foundation, Inc., 1960
               Accession Number:                G1960.10             
Object Description: From 1950 until his death in 1979, Norman Lewis was a leading figure in Abstract Expressionist painting circles in New York—a relative rarity for an artist of color at the time. In his travels to Spain in the 1950s, Lewis studied the paintings at the Museo Nacional del Prado—a short walk from Puerta del Sol, one of the busiest public squares in Madrid. Lewis’s tight clusters of varying colors suggest moving masses of people. “When I was in Madrid,” Lewis recalled in an interview, “one of the things in my own self-education was the discouraging fact that painting pictures didn’t bring about any change.” In later paintings, Lewis used this compositional technique to mimic crowds of protestors during the Civil Rights Movement. Works like "La Puerto del Sol" prefigure Lewis’s paintings of the 1960s and 1970s, which strive to convey the African American struggle through abstraction.

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