1975. Oil painting on canvas, 17 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches, the palate bright but carefully modulated. In a two-inch wide oak frame. Fine condition but for one tiny chip from a patch of impasto (in a distant highrise). Item #55883
Walker (1921-1993) was a self-taught African-American artist, born in Kentucky but brought up by relatives in East St. Louis, which he featured in many of his works. During the phases of his career, he adopted different stylistic approaches from descriptive and narrative to abstract and visionary. In this painting is one from the late period of his social commentary, picturing drab and dilapidated houses viewed from the river, hill-top church rising above them, the river shore before them, and, exercising his visionary license, the lofty buildings of St. Louis behind them. Bars protect the church and house windows and at the street curb sit three cars, yellow, red, and white, in brightly contrast to the drooping, brown homes. Still, he used color insistently to highlight and interpret life there, tiny figures, children, men, and women looking vital, however divided from the urban center. During his life and after, his work has been exhibited in a dozen shows in the region and elsewhere. A religious man, he honestly expressed the essence of poverty and segregation as a natural artist sensitive to color and rhythm and lyricism rather than brutality. A website (alwalker.org) provides a brief biography, characterization of his work and career, and images of several dozen works. (2680).