Lee-Smith, an African-American painter who grew up in Cleveland, lived and worked in Detroit between the years 1945 and 1958. The Piper explores the loneliness of the urban individual and the psychological alienation of the young. Personal symbolism guides the formal construction of this work: the wall, an indicator of the difficulty of escape; the young boy, a metaphor for mankind; and music, a symbol of the longing to break free. The crumbling wall is in the shadow of a modernist building, suggesting the plight of the urban poor left behind by the growing city.
|Artist||Hughie Lee-Smith, American, 1915-1999|
|Medium||oil on composition board|
|Dimensions||Unframed: 22 × 35 1/4 inches (55.9 × 89.5 cm)
Framed: 25 5/8 × 39 3/4 × 2 3/4 inches (65.1 × 101 × 7 cm)
|Credit Line||Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley J. Winkelman|
|Department||African American Art|
|On View||African American N291, Level 2 (see map)|
Signed, Marks, Inscriptions
|Signed||Signed, lower left: Hughie | Lee-Smith | '53|
|Inscriptions||Signed and dated in white, lower left: Hughie | Lee-Smith | '53|
1967-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
44th Annual Exhibition for Michigan Artists. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1953, cat. no. 96, p. 11 (ill.).