These signed paintings were done by Vivian Schuyler Key (American, 1905–1990), the first African American female to graduate with a Fine Arts degree from Pratt Institute (1923). She established herself as a painter and sculptor during the Harlem Renaissance cultural movement that began after World War I and continued into the 1930's. An illustrator for The Crisis Magazine of the NAACP, Key was one of only 49 artists included in the first exhibit of art created by African American women at Illinois State University in 1981. Photograph #5 shows Mrs. Key at her easel. She is the subject of a 1990 book entitled, "Vivian Schuyler Key: One of Many Voices, 1926-1980" by Crystal Britton.
These paintings each have a paper tag on the back stating "This is a Genuine Oil Painting painted entirely by hand. The artists (sic) name is V.S. Key (note: the name is written in ink by hand) Art Associates--New York City." The painting on the left in photograph #1 is of a mixed bouquet of red, white, blue and pale yellow flowers with green foliage against a light taupe background. The painting on the right is of white flowers with pinkish centers and green leaves clustered in a burgundy vase. The vase is resting on a pale green surface that shades into the taupe background. They were both done on artists' board. Each is signed Key in brown to the lower left.
The paintings have been taken out of their frames at some point, since the dust papers are missing and the COA labels have been attached directly to the artists' boards. It's possible that these are different frames from the originals but they certainly fit perfectly and complement the paintings. Actual size of the paintings is 8 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches; framed size is 11 3/8 inches by 9 1/2 inches and they project 1 1/2 inches from the wall. The wood of the frames has a few small dents here and there; the paintings are in excellent condition and they both display beautifully. There is a circular metal ring at the top back of each painting for hanging.
These paintings are by a listed American contemporary artist and are beautiful additions to an art collection.