Norman Lewis

City Night


Not on view
Oil on wood
24 x 18" (61 x 45.7 cm)
Gift of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis
Object number
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Norman Lewis has 4 works online.
There are 2,138 paintings online.

Lewis’s paintings, like those of many Abstract Expressionists, straddle the boundary between abstraction and figuration. The predominantly dark palette of this work evokes the nocturnal cityscape of the title; the delicate lines that crisscross the surface have been interpreted as laundry or power lines. In City Night Lewis has transformed this quotidian subject matter into an atmospheric and luminous abstraction. “The elements of painting constitute a language in themselves,” the artist wrote in 1949; the dynamic interplay of light and dark in City Night demonstrates his deft control over the medium.

Gallery label from Abstract Expressionist New York, October 3, 2010-April 25, 2011

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist
Oral Lovell, Wellesley, MA
Olivia R. A. Lovell of Belleville, NJ (by descent)
Auctioned at Swann Galleries, New York, June 24, 2010, sale 2219 "Out of the Blue: Modern Art and Jazz," lot 16 [as "City Night," 1949]
Acquired at auction by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, with funds provided by Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis

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