Monday, January 10, 2011

Swann Galleries: Upcoming African-American Fine Art Auction

In February 2007, Swann launched a new department devoted to African-American Fine Art; and to date, they are still the only major auction house to conduct regular sales of this material. In the last sale on October 7, 2010, two items were among record prices. The top lot was Robert Colescott's A Legend Dimly Told that sold for $132,000 inclusive of buyer's premium; and Sargent Johnson's Mask that set an artist record when it sold for $67,200 inclusive of buyer's premium. Images and a write-up of this Sale appeared in a previous BAP post.

The upcoming Swann Galleries African-American Fine Art sale is scheduled for Thursday, February 17, 2011, and some of the highlights follow in this post. According to Rebecca Weiss, Media Relations at Swann Galleries, "The auction begins with early 20th-century African-American artists, including Charles Ethan Porter's Sunflowers, oil on wood panel, circa early 1880s; Archibald J. Motley, Jr.'s Harbor Bound, oil on masonite, circa 1914-20; and paintings by Edward Bannister, Robert Duncanson and Hale Woodruff."

As we move into mid-century, highlights include three artists of note. There is a "very scarce four-foot high bronze sculpture of a Standing African-American Woman, 1967, by Elizabeth Catlett; Crossing, oil on canvas, 1948, from Norman Lewis's first solo exhibition at Willard Gallery; and Beauford Delaney's Le Bayaleur, oil on canvas, 1968."

Finally, the sale concludes with a special section in honor of Romare Bearden's centennial, "featuring two iconic collages from the early 1970s, and his life-long experimental work on paper in photostat projections, monotypes, collotypes, watercolor and innovative printmaking."

There will be an online catalogue, as well as a print edition. If you are either building an African American related visual art library, collecting art, or in need of a reference source relating to this area of fine art, consider adding the print catalogue to your collection of books. Historically, many of the original pieces of art in the auction have been in private collections; consequently, the catalogue may be the only documentation of their existence available to the general public. 

As more information becomes available, BAP will share.   

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