About This Artwork

Archibald John Motley, Jr.
American, 1891-1981

Nightlife, 1943

Oil on canvas
91.4 x 121.3 cm (36 x 47 3/4 in.)
Signed and dated lower right: A. J. MOTLEY / 1943

Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Field, Jack and Sandra Guthman, Ben W. Heineman, Ruth Horwich, Lewis and Susan Manilow, Beatrice C. Mayer, Charles A. Meyer, John D. Nichols, and Mr. and Mrs. E.B. Smith, Jr.; James W. Alsdorf Memorial Fund; Goodman Endowment, 1992.89

© Valerie Gerrard Browne / Chicago History Museum / Bridgeman Images

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Chicago Historical Society, The Art of Archibald J. Motley, Jr., October 23, 1991-March 17, 1992, no. 51; traveled to New York, Studio Museum of Harlem, April 5-June 10, 1992; Atlanta, High Museum, June 29-September 25, 1992; Washington D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art, October 10, 1992-January 3, 1993, cat. 51.

Art Institute of Chicago, Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine, November 10, 2013-January 27, 2014; traveled to Fort Worth, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, February 22-May 18, 2014, cat. 40.

Art Institute of Chicago, They Seek a City: Chicago and the Art of Migration, 1910-1950, March 3-June 3, 2013, cat. 33.

Durham, North Carolina, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, January 30-June 1, 2014; traveled to Fort Worth, Amon Carter Museum of Art, June 14-September 7, 2014; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, October 19, 2014-February 1, 2015; Chicago Cultural Center, March 6-August 31, 2015; Whitney Museum of American Art, Fall 2015-Spring 2016 (Fort Worth only).

Publication History

African Americans in Art: Selections from The Art Institute of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 24, 2, (1992), p. 177-179, fig. 11, p. 177.

Wayne Craven, “An Awakening,” American Art, 11, 2 (Summer, 1997), pp. 42-44.

Amy M. Mooney, “Representing Race: Disjunctures in the Work of Archibald J. Motley, Jr.,” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 24, 2 (1999), pp. 162-179, fig. 11.

Andrea D. Barnwell and Kirsten P. Buick, “A Portfolio of Works by African American Artists Continuing the Dialogue: A Work in Progress,” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 24, 2 (1999), pp. 185-186.

Amy Mooney, Archibald J. Motley Jr. (San Francisco: Pomegranate, 2004), p. 88, pl. 40 p. 90.

Judith A. Barter et al., "American Modernism at the Art Institute of Chicago, From World War I to 1955," (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2009), cat. 146.

Ownership History

Archibald J. Motley, Jr., 1943. Costella M. Gwin, by 1985; by descent to Deborah Gwin Hill, Chicago, 1985; sold to the Art Institute 1992.

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