Lot 282

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Mae Alice Engron
Indiana, (1933-2007)
floral abstract
mixed media with foil on canvas
Signed with initials lower left.

Biography from the Archives of askART: Mae Alice Engron was born, raised and died in Indianapolis, Indiana. After injuries sustained working as a civil servant, she attended Herron School of Art, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1984, at the age of 42. She was an abstract painter who primarily painted with oil on canvas, although early in her practice, she also painted on foil to reflect light.

Inspired by organic forms and patterns drawn from nature, her works center on floral abstractions, nudes, and traditional geometric abstraction and her own unique understanding of color. Mae's signature on her pieces – MAE – is as recognizable as her work.

Mae was a featured artist in many exhibitions in Indianapolis, Indiana, specifically the Indiana State Museum, Indiana Black Expo, Indiana Art League, Indianapolis, Public School Business Center. Her work is in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Indiana State Museum, as well as PepsiCo and in private collections throughout the US and Germany.

In 1991, Mae was included in "There But for the Grace: a tribute to pathfinders and visionaries", a group show of national artists at Gallery Tanner in Los Angeles. The inclusion in Gallery Tanner's exhibition on groundbreaking artists situates Mae as a seminal figure in abstraction. At the height of her career, she was one of few black women painters in pure abstraction following the death of Alma Thomas in 1978.

She said, "I paint the way I feel. When my life is in order and everything is running smoothly, I paint the geometric. When I am down, I paint lines. When I feel love, I paint flowers. When I am feeling easy, I paint flowing paintings…" Her imagery resembles tradition African American textiles as well as highlights an iconography of shape made more significant and expressive through rich color palettes. There is also a palpable sense of humor in Mae's work. Her mood paintings are a culmination of her understanding of the color, the medium and of herself.

In November 2016, Quotidian, an LA roving gallery, mounted "Mae Engron: No Date No Title." As part of the exhibition programming, Tavis Smiley and curator Jill Moniz had a conversation about Mae's practice and her emotionally charged abstracts. Quotidian produced the No Date No Title catalog, the only catalog to date of Engron's work. Written and submitted by Jill Moniz, phd, curator of the artist's estate.

  • 19 1/2"H x 15 1/2"W, 22 3/4"H x 18 3/4"W (frame)
  • Artist Name:
  • Mae Alice Engron
  • Medium:
  • mixed media with foil on canvas

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February 10, 2024 11:00 AM EST
Indianapolis, IN, US

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