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Blue and Boogie

Norman Lewis (1909–1979) Blue and Boogie, 1974 Oil on canvas 44 1/4 × 56 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of the Estate of Norman Lewis 1981.1.1

Throughout his career, Norman Lewis created abstract works that connected with the realities of the lives of African Americans. In Blue and Boogie, the interplay of blue and black and the circular movement of the composition recall the music heard on the streets of Harlem at night. The title of the painting comes from the 1945 jazz standard Blue ‘n’ Boogie, written by Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Paparelli. Harlem’s nightlife culture, especially jazz music, inspired many of Lewis’s paintings.

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