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Summer Fine Art & Antiques Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 8, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 152

Greg Ridley, Civil Rights Era Copper Eagle Panels

Estimate: $1,800 - $2,200
Sold for

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$100 $25
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Gregory D. Ridley (American/Tennessee, 1925-2004) Federal Eagles, 1969, two repousse copper panels depicting near-mirror images based on the United States Eagle symbol. Ridley's interpretation of the federal seal, emphasized by the letters U.S. near its tail feathers, portrays the eagles with fierce, dragon-like heads and sharp talons crushing a pair of weeping heads. Both panels are signed lower right and dated 1969, suggesting this work was likely a reaction to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee and the ensuing civil unrest, as well as America's involvement in the Vietnam War. Both panels are mounted on a large, rectangular black painted wood frame. Each panel - 18" square. Frame overall - 29 3/4" H x 52" W. Biography: Greg Ridley was born in Smyrna, TN, and moved with his family to Nashville, TN in 1936. After his service in the US Navy during WWII, he earned a degree in art education from Tennessee State University and went on to become the first African American to receive a master's degree in fine arts from the University of Louisville. Ridley also attended Fisk University (where he later worked), where he studied under Aaron Douglas, the Harlem Renaissance painter and muralist, who remained a close friend and mentor until his death in 1979. Ridley taught at various Southern universities as well as the City University of New York. One of his last and best-known works was the creation of 80 copper panels for the Grand Reading Room of the Nashville, TN Public Library.


Both overall good condition. Panel #1 - a 1 1/2" dent plus some smaller dents and scratches to upper area of one wing, a few other scattered minor small dents and scratches throughout. Panel #2 - a few minor scattered dents and scratches. The darker oxidation of the panels near the image appears to be as the artist intended. Frame exhibits some minor wear and small areas of loss to black paint at edges.

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