Full Details for Lot 151

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  Sale 1147 Lot 151

Charles Sebree
(African-American; 1914-1985)
The Wide Brim
Oil on masonite
c. 1955. Signed. Titled verso "The Wide Brim". Original frame.

Charles Sebree was born in a small town in eastern Kentucky in 1914. At age 10, he moved with his mother to Chicago. He was a prodigy, encouraged from elementary school age to pursue art. Sebree was one of many noted artists to emerge out of Chicago's black arts scene of the 1930s and 1940s. The network of support created through alliances with other artists and affiliations with such institutions as the South Side Community Arts Center and the Art Institute constituted a system through which black artists could forge a career for themselves in a landscape that remained largely hostile to their ambitions.

After attending the Art Institute of Chicago, Sebree remained there and interacted with a group of artists centered in Chicago's South Side. Between 1936 and 1938 Sebree worked for the New Deal's Works Progress Administration, participated in the South Side Community Arts Center, and was involved with the Cube Theater. The vitality of Chicago's black arts movement came to rival that of Harlem, and Sebree benefited from the involvement with colleagues such as Margaret Burroughs and Eldzier Cortor. Sebree also maintained a strong interest in the theater due to his friendship with Katharine Dunham, anthropology student and pioneer of modern dance. Guided by her influence, he explored set and costume design, theatrical production, writing, and dance.

Upon returning from service in World War II, he settled in New York and later Washington D.C., making his living primarily as a playwright. His work is found in many prominent collections including Howard University, the Smithsonian Institute, the St. Louis Art Museum, and the University of Chicago.
24" x 18"
Estimate $6,000-8,000


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