From a recent east coast estate auction, Grapefruit Moon Gallery is delighted to have acquired a previously unseen collection of American Expressionist oil paintings dating to the 1940s and executed in a WPA, Regionalist, and often times stark Ashcan School design aesthetic. These are the work of the important American photo-journalist Alfred Statler, who was active in New York City from the post-war era until the 1970s. His name is most often associated with the booming modern art scene of the 1950s and 1960s, and in particular with Andy Warhol’s early gallery exhibitions. Along with his work on assignment for publications like Time magazine, Statler was an exhibited fine art photographer, drawn to the bustling street scenes of New York. This interest in the life of the city is on display both in this painting and others we will be offering.
Statler began his art career as a student of Fernand Léger, the cubist master, and these early works exhibit both the influence of cubism and America’s WPA movement. Never before seen, many of these paintings capture the urban eccentricities of life in New York City, with pronounced industrial machine age imagery.
This is an excellent example that shows a trio of cars stopped at night at a red light, signed and dated 1949 lower right. Painted in a dark color palette with an impasto heavily applied paint technique that is dramatic and evocative and everything we love about American art of this period. The painting has been cleaned and is framed in a handsome gallery wood frame that accents the painting well.