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H.C. Westermann, Beach Scene (Sleeping Woman), 1954, George Adams Gallery, New York
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Zhang Jian

by Charlie Finch

Recently Roberta Smith penned a "Critic's Notebook" for the New York Times about discovering an odd Fauvist-style painting from 1954 in the back room of George Adams Gallery in Chelsea, called Beach Scene, of a naked woman sleeping on the shore near the prow of a boat. Dealer Adams then put Roberta through "20 Questions," challenging her to identify the artist, with the esteemed critic throwing out names from Milton Avery to Roger Brown (ID'ing art on the walls is to art critics what calling pitches is to an umpire). Turns out that the subdued yet erotic painting is an early work by freaky-deaky sculptor H.C. Westermann, with Roberta meticulously walking us through the clues to its creator in her piece.


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