This is a large lithograph, 32 1/2" by 22 3/4", unframed, the subject a reclining nude in a claustrophobic room hung with framed artworks, signed at lower right in pencil by the artist WILLIAM BRICE, and numbered at lower left 5/20 examples. The work was created in 1962 and bears the blindstamp of Tamarind, as well as another unidentified blind stamp on the front and an ink stamp of a gallery, or printer, on the reverse. Brice (1921-2008) was a major figure in California art at mid-century, and a highly influential figure to such luminary students as Judy Chicago, Ed Moses, and Charles Garabedian. Born in New York to comedian Fanny Brice, he came west with his show business mother. Studying art first at the Chouinard Art Institute in the late 1930's, he was in New York at the Art Students League just before the outbreak of the war. By the 1950's and 1960's he was already a highly regarded artist and art educator, at UCLA, with many gallery exhibitions and museum showings. Brice remained at UCLA until 1991, becoming a professor emeritus. Today his large scale works, modern and abstract, but not abstract expressionist, are in major museum collections around the nation. The influential L.A. Louver Gallery in Venice, California was closely associated with the artist, as was the Tobey Moss Gallery in Los Angeles. Brice once apparently owned a Picasso drawing, while young, and he was highly influenced by that artist as well as by Henri Matisse. When I first saw this image I thought it resembled Matisse's lithographs. CONDITION: The work is unfortunately a victim of careless handling for many years, but, it has thankfully survived and remains collectable. Overall, it is in poor condition. There are a number of edge tears; two corners are severely stubbed and nearly detached; the last part of the signature is partially obscured; there is a brown stain in the upper right area; the lower right quadrant shows heavy creasing; and so forth. On the reverse (not shown) there are remains of US Postal Service adhesive labels which were used to affix this to a mat! So, if you're looking for an auctionable piece, look elsewhere; but if you wish to frame this so as to hide some of the edge damage, and treasure a survivor of California art at mid-century, then by all means, you could not err by adding this piece to your collection. (This is likely shippable in a tube--to be determined). .
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