New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1979. Side-stapled exhibition catalog from The Studio Museum in Harlem, measuring 11 x 8.5 inches: 96. Original green pictorial wrappers. Illustrated with sixteen color plates and numerous black-and-white reproductions throughout text. Inscribed on title: “Hale Woodruff / June 24 79.” Faint crease to front wrapper. With: original woodcut by Woodruff, titled “Head of a Youth,” measuring 9.5 x 6 inches, signed in pencil. With: two exhibition programs from The Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, both listing “Head of a Youth:” “Afro-American Prints of the Thirties: Hale Woodruff & Wilmer Jennings” and “Hale Woodruff - Wilmer Jennings - Allan Crite.”.
First edition of the exhibition catalog for the 1979 Hale Woodruff retrospective at The Studio Museum in Harlem, inscribed by Woodruff on the closing day of the show, accompanied by an original signed woodcut from the 1930s, with related ephemera. American artist Hale Woodruff (1900-1980) rose to prominence during the New Negro movement of the 1920s, working in Paris, where he knew Henry Ossawa Tanner, Claude McKay, Augusta Savage, and Alain Locke. In the 1930s, he studied with Diego Rivera in Mexico, and produced the murals which remain his best-known work: The Amistad Mutiny (Talladega College), The Settlement and Development of California (Golden State Mutual Insurance Company), and Art of the Negro (Atlanta University, now Clark Atlanta). He taught art at Atlanta University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College, and launched the Atlanta University Art Annuals, a juried series of exhibitions of Black artists that ran for thirty years. In 1963, together with Romare Bearden and others, Woodruff founded The Spiral Group in New York City, a forerunner of the Black Arts Movement. This 1979 retrospective at The Studio Museum in Harlem surveyed fifty years of Woodruff’s art, from his early paintings in Paris, inspired by Cezanne, to the mid-career realist murals and his eventual turn to abstraction. The exhibition catalog includes biographical and critical essays, and Albert Murray’s interview with Woodruff: “to get at a thing, you’ve got to get away from it, and then come to it in your own terms.” Laid into the catalog is an original Woodruff woodcut from the 1930s, “Head of a Youth,” signed in pencil. Clearly inspired by the African sculpture Woodruff collected as a young man in Paris, “Head of a Youth” was included in two shows at Boston’s Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists. Programs for those shows, one dated 1979 and the other undated, are included as well. A near-fine collection of material by and about a prolific and influential American artist.