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2024 Winter Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry (Day 1)

Sat, Jan 27, 2024 09:00AM EST
Lot 131

Merton Daniel Simpson, O/B Abstract Expressionist Painting

Estimate: $1,600 - $1,800

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Merton D. Simpson (South Carolina/New York, 1928-2013) oil on board Abstract Expressionist painting rendered in heavy, gestural brushwork with areas of thick impasto. Initialed and dated "M.D.S. [19]83," lower right. Housed in a modern, jointed ebonized wood frame with wide linen liner and elevated ebonized wood fillet. Sight: 11 3/4" H x 17 5/8" W Framed: 23 5/8" H x 29 3/4" W. Biographical Note: A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Simpson suffered from diphtheria as a child and during this time began to draw. He received private art lessons from the Charleston artist, William Halsey. In 1949, the Home Book Shop in Charleston hosted a solo exhibition of his work, and Atlanta University included him in their "Eighth Annual Exhibition of Painting, Sculpture, and Prints by Negro Artists." That same year, Simpson moved to New York, where he attended Cooper Union, studying under Robert Gwathney at New York University. In 1952, his watercolor "Nocturnal City" was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and received an Honorable Mention. After serving in the US Air Force from 1951-1954, where he served as an artist and member of a Jazz Ensemble, he opened a Madison Avenue gallery featuring African art and modern art. Simpson also had works featured in the exhibitions Younger American Painters at the Guggenheim Museum in 1954 and Eight New York Painters at the University of Michigan in 1956. In 1959, he visited Europe for the first time and collaborated with many expatriate African-American writers, artists and musicians living in Paris including the writer James Baldwin; artists Larry Potter, Beauford Delaney, and Herbert Gentry; and musicians Count Basie, Thad Jones, and the Mel Lewis Orchestra. In 1963 Simpson joined a group of African-American artists who formed the Spiral Club, whose goal was to contribute to the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the 1970s, Simpson traveled extensively in West Africa and in the 1980's he created two series of works that reflect his great love of jazz and music. In the 1990s he began to incorporate both music and African art in his work. Throughout his career, Simpson had numerous solo and group exhibitions and his works are featured in numerous permanent and private collections. (Sources: The Johnson Collection; Artist's autobiography submitted to Askart, 2004)


Excellent condition. Frame with abrasion with loss to lower right edge and minute specks of white paint to upper edge, not visible frontally.

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