Lot Details

American Pop Art master Peter Saul's "Shicago Just Us" is a powerful four color lithograph proofed by hand and pulled by machine from zinc plates on Arches paper at the Shorewood-Bank Street Atelier, New York. It was created in one of the most desirable and influential eras, the early Seventies. Peter Saul is one of the pioneers of the Pop Art movement - especially recognized for his powerful anti-War pieces of the early Seventies. One of his anti-Vietnam War Pop masterpieces from the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum was recently on view in the museum's acclaimed "Sinister Pop" exhibition. This politically evocative piece of protest art was created for the legendary portfolio "CONSPIRACY: the Artist as Witness", published by the Center for Constitutional Rights, to raise money for the legal defense of the Chicago 7, a group of Yippies, radicals and anti-Vietnam War activists indicted by President Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell for conspiring to riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (1968 was also the year Bobby Kennedy was killed and American casualties in Vietnam exceeded 30,000.) The eight demonstrators included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. (Bobby Seale was severed from the case and sentenced to four years for contempt after being handcuffed, shackled to a chair and gagged - hence the "Chicago 7".) This work is a homage to Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panthers, and the artist's message about the kind of Justice Seale got in Chicago during the Conspiracy Trial is anything but subtle! Although Abbie Hoffman would later point out that these (now famous) radicals couldn't even agree on lunch, the jury convicted them of conspiracy. All of the convictions, contempt citations and lengthy jail sentences were ultimately overturned by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

This particular piece by Paul is a tribute to Bobby Seale, whose Constitutional rights were trampled upon by the lower court. It has superb provenance: it comes directly from the original Portfolio: Conspiracy The Artist as Witness (23/150) which also featured works by Alexander Calder, Jack Beal, Romare Bearden Leon Golub-Nancy Spero, Sol Lewitt, Robert Morris, Claes Oldenburg, Larry Poons, Bridget Riley, Raphael Soyer and Frank Stella. It was housed in an elegant cloth case, accompanied by a colophon page and excerpts from the trial itself by the defendants as well as their attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass. This is the first time since 1971 that this historic lithograph has been removed from the original portfolio case and offered for sale. It is in fine condition, a superb, bright impression, never framed. It has desirable deckled edges, so it would look terrific when floated and framed. For fans of Pop Artist Peter Saul, and for students of American history who appreciate Bobby Seale, as well as for collectors of Art of the Sixties - and protest art, and for those who still believe in social justice, this iconic print symbolizes a piece of American history! Many editions of this work are already in the collections of major museums and institutions. Peter Saul was the subject of a major 2008 retrospective monograph by Robert Storr. From the books's blurb: "Inspired to a creative breakthrough after glancing at a copy of Mad magazine, promoted by the Surrealist Matta, and discovered in Paris, American artist Peter Saul (b.1934) has created often difficult, funny, and trenchant works - "sick jokes," according to Robert Storr. His paintings have taken on subjects ranging from embarrassing personal foibles to important events in American history such as the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, end the atrocities at Abu Ghraib. Given the ongoing lack of recognition for the work of this controversial, influential, and pioneering artist, a deeper examination of Saul's career is Long overdue."

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  • Conspiracy: The Artist as Witness, 23/150
  • Pickup Location: New York, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 18 x 24 in. (45.72 x 60.96 cm.)
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