“The old lady in black was still there, and I showed her a reproduction of the painting. Big mistake! We spent the next hour going from stall to stall to exhibit her new-found fame.”
It’s been a while since we’ve featured a Hulings market scene, and today, we’re in Valencia, Spain. Many artists explore multiple possibilities with a core idea that has captured their attention; in music, it is theme and variation. Hulings had several central themes to which he returned throughout his career, and both flower markets and Spain were among them.
Flood The Market
Valencia, Spain was an early childhood home for Hulings, and he has many works set there. Old Lady in Black-Valencia was painted in 1969, the year after a solo show at Grand Central Galleries in New York. Here we see the activity of an Iberian flower market in full-swing, even after a heavy rain. It’s always interesting to look carefully at a Hulings painting and see where his semi-secret abstract sensibilities are revealing themselves: here it’s in the bottom left corner where the wet pavement is strewn with non-figurative elements that suggest cast-off petals and leaves.
Two men carry a wicker basket, and several groups of women discuss their purchases. Trees frame the street, and the diagonal line of the curb, lined with pots of white and yellow chrysanthemums in the foreground, structures the bustling action. The bold red of the overhanging awning literally points down to the old lady in black with her white apron, so we won’t miss her.
Everybody Gets Their Fifteen Minutes…
In A Gallery of Paintings, Clark Hulings wrote: “Several years after this picture was made, I returned to Valencia where it was set. The old lady in black was still there, and I showed her a reproduction of the painting. Big mistake! We spent the next hour going from stall to stall to exhibit her new-found fame.”
From Valencia to Dallas
Our colleagues at Heritage Auctions Dallas will be featuring Old Lady in Black – Valencia on November 1st: it’s 30 x 46″, oil on masonite. Just let us know if this classic European market scene and its no-nonsense protagonist have caught your eye, and we will put you in touch.