Helen Wagner Malta 1930s Drawing of Tattooed Woman with Eyes All Over!

Regular price $175.00

This wonderful ink drawing feels completely contemporary to me, but was done in the 1930s by Helen Wagner Malta (1912-1975), who signed it along the outside curve of the right foot. From what I understand, it came from a sketchbook of her drawings from that time--when she was teaching at the Harlem Art Center and working at the New York branch of the WPA graphics division. Malta's work, which included drawings, paintings and prints, is found in collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery.

For me, this drawing makes me think a bit of the directness and warmth of Alice Neel's portraits, and also, with these eyes all over--wide open, concealing/highlighting private/erogenous zones--Louise Bourgeois. Her elusive expression and posture engage speculation and projection, revealing as much about the viewer as the subject. To me, she vibrates among proud, vulnerable, self-possessed, resigned, curious, and defiant!

9" x 12" and in very good condition. There is a small ink smudge above the eye on her right thigh, I believe original to the drawing, a minor dark smudge to the paper to the right of that, and a small crease at the bottom of the page below her right foot, all pretty minor. No foxing or notable aging to the paper at all.