PHILADELPHIA – There are two questions Ruth Fine has heard repeatedly from visitors emerging from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts’ comprehensive retrospective of work by artist Norman Lewis.
“Those who don’t know his work ask, ‘How is it possible we didn’t know this painter?’” said Fine, a visiting curator, retired from Washington’s National Gallery of Art, who spearheaded the exhibition. “And those who did know of him ask, ‘How is it possible we didn’t know him better?’”
Many of the works in “Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis,” which runs through April 3, are on public view for the first time. The exhibition in the Academy’s main gallery includes 95 paintings and prints and is loosely chronological with six thematic sections: Into the City, Visual Sound, Rhythm of Nature, Ritual, Civil Rights and Summation.
“I think people are surprised by what they see, the variety,” Fine said. “This is the first chance