Lot Details & Additional Photographs
Oil on canvas, circa 1963, signed and dated at lower left, presented in a later frame.
Stretcher size 24 x 25 1/4 in.; Frame dimensions 29 3/4 x 31 in.From a Private Collection, Eastern North Carolina
Francis Speight was born in rural Bertie County, North Carolina in 1896. He began his art studies with Ida Poteat at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, followed by a brief period at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. While at the Corcoran, he was introduced to the work of Daniel Garber. Speight was so impressed with Garber’s American impressionist paintings that he moved to Philadelphia to study with the artist at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
In 1925, Speight graduated from the academy but stayed as a painting and drawing instructor until 1961. This period of his work is characterized by tender scenes of the blue collar industrial towns surrounding Philadelphia. Bathed in dramatic rays of sun, or soft shadows, these paintings and their compositions seem to sway and dance across the canvas.
The North Carolina Museum of Art mounted a retrospective of Speight’s work in 1961, marking the artist’s return to his home state. He and his wife, Sarah Blakeslee, moved to Greenville, North Carolina where he taught art at East Carolina University. This new position allowed him greater time and freedom to paint. Both he and Sarah would travel and paint across North Carolina, returning to Pennsylvania and the PAFA to teach summer classes.
Francis Speight exhibited frequently throughout his lifetime, with solo exhibitions at Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Delgado Museum, New Orleans; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine, Philadelphia; Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville, NC; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; and more. His paintings are in numerous prominent private and public collections, including The Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC; Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; National Academy of Design, New York; The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, SC; and many more.
Slight draw to lower right corner of canvas; very minor spot retouch to sky visible under UV light.
$10,000 - 20,000