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    Lois Mailou Jones (American, 1905-1998)
    Sara Spencer Washington, Business Executive, Twelve American Women Calendar illustration, 1942
    Ink, wash, and collage on paper
    13 x 9-3/4 inches (33.0 x 24.8 cm) (image, sight)

    Soul of a Nation: African American Art from a Distinguished Collector

    Lois Mailou Jones ranks as a critical female figure instrumental in the creative explosion of the Harlem Renaissance. Having an interest in an extraordinary range of subjects—from French, Haitian, and New
    England landscapes to the sources and issues of African-American culture, the scope of her rigorous training in Boston, New York, Paris, Italy, and Africa is equally evident in her costumes, textile designs, watercolors, paintings, and collages.

    Throughout her career, Jones has championed the international artistic achievement of African-American art. She has also been an important role model for other African-American artists, particularly those involved with her design and watercolor courses at Howard University from 1930 to 1977.

    The present three works are part of a series of twelve remarkable homages to rainmaking African American women.

    "Madame Washington" as she was widely known, was a millionaire businesswoman who founded the Apex News & Hair Company. In 1913 she started a hairdressing business in Atlantic City, and later expanded the business, teaching students and developing beauty products. After an employee referred to Washington as "Madame" out of respect, she adopted the title in her professional career. In 1920, noting the lack of beauty products for African Americans, she founded the Apex News & Hair Company. Apex maintained a lab and school in Atlantic City, as well as an office in New York City. Eventually, her beauty colleges were located in twelve states and there were 35,000 agents all over the world. After Washington's death, her daughter, Joan Cross Washington, led the company until it was sold.

    Madame Washington has been called one of the most important business executives in the black community. She was honored at the 1939 New York World's Fair as one of the "Most Distinguished Businesswomen."

    Although she suffered a stroke in 1947 which left her paralyzed, Madame Washington continued to provide for Atlantic City's black community, founding an African-American Easter Parade after her efforts to dress two local girls in the best fineries still found them ignored by white judges at the Boardwalk parade. Even as a millionaire, Madame Washington never turned her back on her community.

    Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000.

    Condition Report*: Ink on paper drawing adhered to a paper mat with handwritten script in ink. 2 x 4 in. calendar lithograph adhered lower center. Mild toning to the image sheet. The mat has been reinforced thus repairing several tears including: 1 inch tear along the left edge of the mat, and a loss along the upper left edge of the mat. Adhesive staining in the extreme corners of the mat sheet. Scattered spot of water damage along the top edge. Scattered creasing, most apparent in the lower left corner of the paper mat.
    Paper Mat Dimensions 22.25 X 16.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

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    15th Friday
    Auction Dates
    5th Friday
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