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Untitled (Barker and Crowd)

American Art

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Untitled (Barker and Crowd)

Artwork Details


Norman Wilfred Lewis
American, 1909–1979


ca. 1960


Oil on canvas

Accession #



30 x 60 inches


On View - Stent Family Wing, Level 3, Gallery 301


Norman Lewis was the only Black artist to participate in the famous closed-door sessions at Studio 35 that would come to define Abstract Expressionism in 1950. In Barker and Crowd, which he painted for friends who lived near him in Harlem, an abstraction of silhouetted figures gathers before a fiery glow whose energy perhaps refers to the burning rhetoric of the stump speakers, or “barkers,” who incited street crowds in Harlem to take action for civil rights—a movement to which Lewis was personally committed.


Purchase with funds from Veronica and Franklin Biggins, Sherri and Jess Crawford, David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisition Fund, Alfred Austell Thornton in memory of Leila Austell Thornton and Albert Edward Thornton, Sr., and Sarah Miller Venable and William Hoyt Venable, Victoria and Howard Palefsky, Roya and Bahman Irvani, Helen and Howard Elkins, and Friends of African American Art

Image Copyright

© Estate of Norman W. Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY