Published: March 8, 2022
ROCKVILLE, MD. — At Weschler’s Capitol Collections sale on March 4, an Alma Woodsey Thomas (American, 1891-1978) acrylic on canvas, “Pale Yellow Autumn Leaves,” 12¼ by 16¼ inches, tripled expectations and then some, finishing at $183,500, inclusive of premium, against a $30/50,000 estimate. Signed “A.W. Thomas,” the painting was dated ‘77 and titled “Pale Yellow Autumn/Leaves” on verso. Thomas was an African American painter and art educator, born in Columbus, Ga. In 1907 she moved with her family to Washington, where she would later become the first graduate of Howard University’s art department in 1924. She received a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University in 1934 — the first African American woman to do so. Her early paintings were realistic but became geometrically abstract and abstract expressionistic as she matured. Lois Mailou Jones and James V. Herring (both were her professors) influenced her career in art. She was the first female African American to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The 186-lot sale was heavy in diamonds and fine art. A more extensive review to come.
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