Norman Lewis American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 830

An Abstract Expressionist, Lewis developed a unique approach to abstract painting. His paintings, such as this example, are composed of individual strokes reminiscent of glyphs, calligraphic script, and miniaturized figures set within fields of color. These individual elements seem to respond to one another’s position, their movements carefully choreographed by the artist. Because Lewis’s strokes mass and swarm in the manner of large groups of bodies, they often call to mind dances, marches, and processions, including those associated with the civil rights movement, whose aims Lewis supported. The blue field here evokes the maritime landscapes around New York and in Greece, where Lewis travelled in 1973 to visit Jack Whitten.

Untitled, Norman Lewis (American, New York 1909–1979 New York), Oil on canvas

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