American, 1939-2011

Untitled (Three Figures)

1977, watercolor on Rives paper
signed and dated Yarde 1977 lower right
sheet: 25 1/2 x 19 in., frame: 32 x 27 1/4 in.

  • Provenance: The Estate of a Prominent Architectural Historian, Wellesley, Massachusetts.
  • Notes: This work was painted in 1977, a pivotal year for Boston artist Richard Yarde, as it was at this time that he switched from oil painting to watercolor as his preferred medium. His watercolors were bold in color, scale, and subject matter, and they were immediately celebrated by art critics and coveted by collectors.

    A December 1977 New York Times review of Yarde's one-man watercolor show at Meredith Long Contemporary notes, "The placement of each touch of color, the way these touches grow into clusters of form, and the deployment of these forms within the white space of the paper—it is in these pictorial details that Mr. Yarde establishes his real authority...Yet the mood of the work is not one of detached estheticism. We are never in doubt about the importance that Mr. Yarde's themes have for him. The note of elegy remains emphatic, and the note of personal identification with the past too. In perfecting the esthetic component of his art, Mr. Yarde has, in fact, strengthened its power to deal with a social reality, and persuades us of the force with which it has captured his imagination. The result is very moving work in a mode we seldom see nowadays."

    In his watercolors, Yarde explored the history of Black Americans in the 20th century. He drew on both his own upbringing in Roxbury, Massachusetts, as well as photographs from the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance, often finding inspiration in the work of noted photographer James Van Der Zee. The figures in this painting were likely photographed by Van Der Zee during one of the famed Harlem parades of the 1920s. Yarde enlivens the scene, creating a sense of spontaneity through his tilted, off-set composition, while capturing the viewer's eye with the contrast of the rich goldenrod ground against the stark white background of the paper.
  • Condition: Colors strong (if anything a bit stronger than they appear in these images). A few scattered flecks of foxing. Faint mat burn at edges.

    Please note: All property is sold "AS IS" and any statement, whether oral or written, is given as a courtesy and shall not be deemed as a guarantee, warranty, or representation of the authenticity of authorship, physical condition, size, quality, rarity, importance, provenance, exhibitions, literature or historical relevance of the property or otherwise. The absence of a condition report does not imply the item is in perfect condition.

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May 1, 2022 11:00 AM EDT
Boston, MA, US

Grogan & Company

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