About This Artwork

Hale Woodruff
American, 1900–1980

Twilight, c. 1926

Oil on pressed paperboard
71.1 x 81.3 cm (28 x 32 in.)
Signed lower right: Hale Woodruff

Through prior bequest of Marguerita S. Ritman, 1993.125

Hale Woodruff was a highly influential muralist and teacher, dedicated to promoting the works of African American artists. Trained at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the early 1920s, he chafed at his limited exposure to the latest painting trends. Twilight, one of his early paintings, is an extraordinarily vivid landscape that suggests his desire to define himself as a modernist. A scene of a small grove of trees backlit by an intense sunset, the painting exuberantly evokes the brilliant color of the Fauves. The artist employed assured, fluid brushstrokes to apply bold streaks of pigment, drawing attention to the paint’s tactile qualities. Works such as Twilight inspired the noted Harlem Renaissance author Alain Locke to praise the young artist: “Mr. Woodruff paints landscapes of originality,” wrote Locke, with a “warm beauty” of color.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Art Institute of Chicago, The Negro in Art Week, November 16-December 1, 1927, cat. 40.

Publication History

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. 56.

Ownership History

Mrs. Olivia Anderson, Indianapolis, (sister-in-law of the artist). Derrick Joshua Beard, by 1993; sold by him to the Art Institute, 1993.

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