James Lesesne Wells
(American, 1902-1993)
Cover Art for the First Edition of 'Frederic [sic] Douglass' by Benjamin Quarles and Illustration of Figures Marching Before American Flags: Two Works
Each ink on paper; each overall with handling creases and toning. Each unframed.
The first, circa 1948, signed J.L. Wells l.r. and with editing marks and annotations along edges in graphite; the second, circa late 40s, initialed J.L.W l.l.

  • Note:
    In the 39 years James Lesesne Wells spent teaching at Howard University, he is credited with shaping the careers of some of Washington, DC's most iconic and influential artists including Elizabeth Catlett, David Driskell and Alma Thomas, whom he was particularly close to.

    After graduating from Columbia University in 1925, Wells worked as an illustrator, often focusing on African-American history and social issues: "...becoming aware of the social and economic conditions of the time and the awakening of the 'New Negro', I felt that the graphic arts would lend itself readily to the projection of ideas about these issues." During this period, Wells became friends with Carter G. Woodson, the noted historian who founded The Associated Publishers in 1920 (see lot 76). In an interview with the Smithsonian Archives in 1989, Wells credited Woodson with disseminating his work into the public sphere.
  • Dimensions:
  • Sheet size of first: 18-3/4 x 12-1/2 in (47.6 x 31.8 cm); Sheet size of second: 18-1/2 x 22 in (47 x 55.9 cm)
  • Artist Name:
  • James Lesesne Wells
  • Medium:
  • Each ink on paper; each overall with handling creases and toning. Each unframed.
  • Condition:
  • Weschler's provides written condition reports, upon request, for any lot in our auctions. Such a condition report is provided as a courtesy to our clients and should in no instance replace first hand inspections by a prospective buyer or his/her agent. All property is sold "As Is" in accordance with the terms set forth in paragraph 2 of Conditions of Sale. Neither Weschler's nor the Consignor makes any express or implied warranty or representation as to the condition of any lot offered for sale, and no statement made at any time, whether oral or written, shall constitute such a warranty or representation. *While we do our best to protect the frames, we will not be responsible for damage, regardless of cause. Images, descriptions and condition reports used on this site are original copyright material and are not to be reproduced without permission. For further information please contact our business offices at 202.628.1281.

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December 9, 2022 10:00 AM EST
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