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Accent Black, 1949

Earthy reds, sand colors, and an accent of pure black come to life in this geometric abstract work. The shapes are square and rectangular reminiscent of Mondrian.

Accent Black combines American Indian design and geometric abstraction. Leon Polk Smith, a native American, was born in Oklahoma Territory and grew up among the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations. The colors and forms seen in Accent Black evoke traditional Pueblo design, including zigzag patterns on pottery (often symbolizing rain clouds), and stepped ceremonial architecture, called “kivas.”

Provenance: Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Lejwa, New York (by 1970–71; their gift to MMA)

Signed, dated, and inscribed (verso): Leon P. Smith / 110 W. 16 / NYC / 1949