Hale Woodruff (1900–1980) Portal, n.d. Oil on canvas 42 3/8 × 32 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of E. Thomas Williams and Auldlyn Higgins Williams, New York 1987.5.1

In the summer of 1963, Hale Woodruff cofounded the African-American artist collective Spiral with Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, and Norman Lewis. The group met for critiques and discussions of the role that Black artists should play in the civil rights movement. In working more collaboratively toward a shared aesthetic that would produce a group show, many artists, including Woodruff, turned toward abstraction as a mode of a more universal expression. It is believed that Portal was created during this period in the early 1960s.