Swann's February 16 auction of African-American Fine Art will feature the first painting by celebrated artist William T. Williams to come to auction. The monumental 1971 acrylic on canvas, titled Eastern Star, was bought from the artist's first solo gallery exhibition in New York by the current owner.
This large and exciting work is an excellent example of Williams's unique abstract vision--an elegant, layered Minimalist abstraction, infused with the geometries of jazz and non-Western cultures.
Williams was born in Cross Creek, North Carolina, attended Pratt Institute and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and earned an M.F.A. from Yale University. In 1969 he participated in The Black Artist in America: A Symposium, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Williams's abstract painting achieved early institutional recognition when the Museum of Modern Art, New York, purchased his 1969 painting Elbert Jackson L.A.M.F, Part II. His paintings were also included in such important exhibitions as the Studio Museum in Harlem's Inaugural Show, the Whitney Biennial and New Acquisitions at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1970, both the Jewish Museum, New York, and the Menil Collection, Houston, commissioned paintings.
In addition to his long career as a painter, Williams has taught at Brooklyn College for more than 40 years.