This is one of several just in drawings by Helen Wagner Malta (1912-1975), which I am completely taken with--gentle and sweet without being saccharine, delicate but decisive, and always surprising. This one certainly calls the drawings of Paul Klee to mind, but feels to me really fresh and immediate--I can just imagine the young artist standing before these two young men on a New York sidewalk, buying her fresh fish and bananas! The colored pencil used here ranges from blue to purple to pink to red and while subtle is very readable.
This and the rest from what I understand came from a sketchbook of drawings Malta did in the 1930s or so, while teaching at the Harlem Art Center and working at the New York branch of the WPA graphics division. Malta's work, which also included paintings and prints, is found in collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery.
9" x 12". Signed lower left. Very good condition, with small creases to the bottom corners.