Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis Opens This Weekend in Philadelphia

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Norman Lewis’ art is simultaneously historical, political, and groundbreaking. As the only African American artist of his generation committed to issues of abstraction over the course of his career, Lewis melded his art with his involvement in both the Harlem Renaissance and the fight for civil rights, paving the way for other artists of color to be recognized in the field. Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis—the first major museum retrospective of his work—begins previews today at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia.

Showcasing numerous works from throughout Lewis’ career, Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis, available now from UC Press, is both a catalogue of this important exhibition and an essential resource for those studying the work of this influential artist.

Check out a selection of the paintings featured in the exhibition below, and learn more about the show here.

  • Baulé Mask, 1935 Pastel on sandpaper, 18 x 12 1/2 in. Private Collection
  • Meeting Place (aka Shopping), 1941 Oil on canvas, 36 x 23 5/8 in. Private Collection, Chicago, Illinois
  • Hep Cats, 1943 Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 in. Khephra Burns and Susan L. Taylor
  • Title unknown (Subway), 1945 Oil and sand on canvas, 24 x 36 in. Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York
  • Title unknown (Jazz Club), 1945 Oil and sand on canvas, 22 7/8 x 34 1/2 in. Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York
  • Roller Coaster, 1946 Opaque watercolor, ink, and crayon on board, 12 x 16 in. Private Collection; Courtesy of Bill Hodges Gallery
  • Title unknown, 1946 Oil on canvas, 36 x 24 in. Private Collection; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York
  • Title unknown, 1947 Oil on canvas, 30 x 35 1/2 in. Private Collection; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York
  • Changing Moods, 1947 Oil and ink on canvas, 38 x 43 1/2 in. Mott-Warsh Collection, Flint, Michigan
  • Cantata, 1948 Oil on canvas, 49 3/4 x 41 1/8 in. The Dayton Art Institute
  • Untitled (Fingerprints), 1949 Ink on paper, 19 x 24 in. Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York
  • Too Much Aspiration, 1947 Opaque watercolor, ink, and graphite on paper, 16 1/2 x 27 ½ in. L. Ann and Jonathan P. Binstock
  • Title Unknown (Street Scene aka African Dance), 1947 Oil on board, 20 x 30 in. Collection of Raymond J. McGuire, New York
  • Street Music, 1950 Oil on canvas, 25 7/8 x 24 in. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
  • Migrating Birds, 1953 Oil on canvas, 40 x 60 in. Collection of halley k harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld
  • Title unknown (Carnivale aka Tournament), c. 1958 Oil on canvas, 48 1/2 x 61 in. Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Redneck Birth, 1961 Oil on canvas, 51 1/2 x 72 in. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
  • Title Unknown (March on Washington), 1965 Oil on fiberboard, 35 1/4 x 47 1/2 in. L. Ann and Jonathan P. Binstock
  • Exodus, 1972 Oil on canvas, 72 1/2 x 87 in. Collection of Billy E. Hodges
  • Sunday Afternoon, 1978 Oil, ink and graphite on paper, 29 1/2 x 41 1/2 in. Private Collection
  • Norman Lewis in the studio Photo: Budd Estate of Norman W. Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York
  • Norman Lewis’s studio, c. 1975 Photo: George Stizday Estate of Norman W. Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York