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Eldzier Cortor “Tête à Tête”

October 8, 2012

This early work by the  Chicago-based African-American painter Eldzier Cortor, who is still alive age 96, is coming up for auction at Swann Galleries in New York on Oct 18th. It dates from 1934, when the 18-year-old Cortor was attending Saturday classes at the Chicago Art Institute, and depicts a street encounter in Bronzeville, then as now the centre of African-American life in Chicago. But what is going on? Is the man looking at the food, or her breasts? Is she reprimanding or instructing him? Is she his wife, or mother? Who knows? It well justifies the estimate of $80-$120,000.

Eldzier Cortor was not always a politically correct artist. His iconic works such as Southern Gate (right below) objectified women, in both title and paint, despite being toned down from his preparatory pen and ink study (left).

    

His main subject was African-American women

         

        

Sexist or not, this is great art.

Jim Thornton

More ripe-tomato.org art here, here, here and here.

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