Artist Search
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 

 Whitfield Lovell  (1959 - )

About: Whitfield Lovell


Examples of his work


Quick facts

Exhibits - current  




Book references

Magazine references pre-2007


Discussion board

Signature Examples*  
Buy and Sell: Whitfield Lovell
  For sale ads

Auction results*

  Wanted ads Auctions upcoming for him*  

Auction sales graphs*


What's my art worth?

Magazine ads pre-1998*  

Market Alert - Free

Lived/Active: New York      Known for: installation sculpture, charcoal portrait drawing

Login for full access
View AskART Services

*may require subscription

Available for Whitfield Lovell:

Quick facts (Styles, locations, mediums, teachers, subjects, geography, etc.) (Whitfield Lovell)


Biographical information (Whitfield Lovell)


Book references (Whitfield Lovell)


Magazine references (Whitfield Lovell)


Museum references (Whitfield Lovell)


Auction records - upcoming / past (Whitfield Lovell)


Auction high record price (Whitfield Lovell)


Analysis of auction sales (Whitfield Lovell)


Discussion board entries (Whitfield Lovell)


Image examples of works (Whitfield Lovell)


Please send me Alert Updates for Whitfield Lovell (free)
What is an alert list?

Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Looking for Deer
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
East Village in New York-based artist, Whitfield Lovell, does mix-media installations that center on memory and history and evoke a harrowing tale of post-Reconstruction America.  Inspired by the forced removal of a thriving African American community in 1921 because of fears about its proximity to a women's college in Denton, Texas, Lovell, in 2000 in an exhibition titled "Whispers From the Walls", built at The Studio Museum in Harlem an intimate environment with layered voices, artifacts, portraits, and sounds.

In this exhibition, Lovell created a sturdy one-room cabin constructed of cast-off wooden supports with various accoutrements that suggest limited means and modest hopes of the community's inhabitants - an old victrola playing country blues, a bed neatly spread with an hand-made quilt, an open encyclopedia and a half-empty liquor decanter.

The walls of the shelter and the gallery are populated by life-sized drawings based on archival studio photographs of black Texans from the time of the community's destruction.  "Whispers from the Walls" was organized by the University of North Texas, where Lovell completed the original work during a four-week residency in 1999.

Whitfield Lovell showed early art talent and was encouraged in drawing by a junior high art teacher, who took time during her lunch hours to critique his work.  He was accepted into the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan, which firmed his commitment to being an artist.  However, because of being singled out and sometimes avoided as a black-skinned person, he does not look back in a positive way to much of his post-high school art education, which included the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Parsons New School of Design and Cooper Union in New York City.  In 1981, he graduated from Cooper Union, and found a comfortable environment for his creativity in alternative art space in Manhattan.  He also met artist Fred Wilson, who has become his long-time companion.

In 1985, Lovel was awarded a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, and there replaced his use of color and canvas with charcoal and oil stick on paper.  It was a turning point in that he was able to commit to that which was unique to him---"expressive methods of using the figure without focusing on a likeness.  He sometimes made bodies without heads, orimags of hands or empty clothing, as a way of dealing with the losses in his life." (Sheets 135).  These losses included the death of his grandfather in a mugging and of his sister from skin cancer.

As his career progresses, Lovell has combined teaching with producing art, and has been on the faculty of the School of Visual Art in New York City, retiring in 2001, and had a residency at Rice University and at North Texas University, which resulted in the installation, "Whispers From the Walls", which traveled to 15 venues.

He has become increasingly known for his large-scale images of charcoal drawn African Americans on weathered wooden plans.  Many of these portraits are based on early 1920s formal, studio portraits and remind him that he has a heritage of interesting people that he knows nothing about.   Of his work, Lovell says:  "The importance of home, family, ancestry feeds my work entirely.  . . .African Americans generally were not aware of who their ancestors were, since slaves were sold from plantation to plantation and families were split up.  . . . There's a huge gap between the emancipation and the civil rights movement.  We don't seem many images of black people in art from that period. "(Sheets 132)

He attributes much of his interest in black cultural history, especially in the period after the Civil War to family influences.  From the time he was a youngster and raised in the Bronx, Lovell visited flea markets with his grandmother, which roused his interest in "old things" and cultural history.  From that time, he has been a collector, with items including toy cars, radios and photographs, especially African American soldiers whose treatment from the Civil War and World Wars has become a reoccuring theme of his art expression.  As a child, Lovell was exposed to the world that could open through photography because his father was an amateur photographer, whom Lovell assisted in the darkroom. 

Results of his collecting activity have fed into his installation art, where he combines his drawings with 'found objects' from antique shops and other easily available sources.

The road for Whitfield Lovell has been a long one, from relatively isolated youth with art talent to successful artist with lucrative installation commissions and exhibitions including a solo exhibition at the Hudson River Museum from September 27 to January 10, 2008-2009.

Hilarie M. Sheets, "Past Present", ARTnews, May 2008
Editor, "New York Reviews", ARTnews, October 2000

Compiled by Lonnie Dunbier

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
  go to top home | site map | site terms | AskART services & subscriptions | contact | about us
  copyright © 2000-2015 AskART all rights reserved ® AskART and Artists' Bluebook are registered trademarks

  A |  B |  C |  D-E |  F-G |  H |  I-K |  L |  M |  N-P |  Q-R |  S |  T-V |  W-Z  
  art appraisals, art for sale, auction records