The market for modern and contemporary art continues to grow at a rapid pace; however, the actual number of artists that sell at high prices at auction is fairly small. Because of my interest in the works of African American artists, I am always concerned as to how successful their works fair in the auction setting, particularly as it compares with the larger field of American art. Regardless of selling price, one of the greatest benefits of these auctions has been the slow but progressive inclusion of African American art into auction data.
According to Nigel Freeman, Director of African-American Fine Art at Swann Galleries, "Last year's sales met or exceeded expectations and that we're starting to see pre-recession numbers." I would tend to agree with Freeman's statements. The October 06, 2011 Sale was the most successful auction over the past three years (February 2009 to October 2011), bringing in $1,789,989 with Buyer's Premium, and selling approximately 75% of the lots.
|Robert Duncanson, Young America|
|Eldzier Cortor, Classical Composition No. 4|
Sale 2290 will offer two Eldzier Cortor paintings from important periods for the figurative artist. This is the first time that any works by Cortor have been featured in Swann's African-American Fine Art Auction. One of those works, Classical Composition, No. 4 (circa 1973), is a large impressive oil on canvas. It is the top lot and has an estimate of $200,000 to $250,000. Cortor is best known for elegant, elongated depictions of women that show the influences of his study of African sculpture, 19th Century French Painting, and his travels to the Sea Islands and the West Indies.
|Charles White, Songs of Life|
|Norman Lewis, Magenta Haze|
Three paintings from Norman Lewis' Abstract Expressionist period will be up for auction, including Magenta Haze (1947), one of his earliest abstract paintings to come to auction. This oil on canvas has an estimate of $60,000 to $90,000.
|Elizabeth Catlett, The Co-Founder Award|
This post has featured only a few artists and select works in Swann's African-American Fine Art Sale scheduled for October 18, 2012. In addition to the fine art artists and their works represented here, Sale 2290 will include works by Henry Ossawa Tanner, Hughie Lee Smith, Romare Bearden, Hale Woodruff, William Edouard Scott, Thelma Johnson Streat, and others.
See the Online African-American Fine Art catalogue.