Friday, January 7, 2011

Swann Galleries: Upcoming Printed and Manuscript African-Americana Auction

Eve Kahn's recent (December 23, 2010) Antiques column in the New York Times states, "In February [2010] Porter’s family sold his archive for $50,400 at Swann Galleries in New York to Emory University's Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library in Atlanta, which is now sifting through 17 boxes and planning exhibitions."  For those who have been keeping up with the latest auction prices and trends relating to African American items at auction, the Porter archive was an extensive collection that included thousands of items, consisting of photographs, correspondence, exhibit catalogues, art books, and etc.

Over the years, I have found the Printed and Manuscript African-Americana auction at Swann Galleries to have an array of interesting and unusual items for the casual or seasoned collector, consisting of items suitable for both private and institutional collections. The catalogue, accompanying this auction, serves as a very useful reference resource.

The upcoming Printed and Manuscript African-Americana auction at Swann Galleries, which is its 16th annual auction, will be held on Thursday, March 10, 2011. As usual, the auction will offer a wide-ranging array of unique and unusual items, such as "a lengthy handwritten statement of purpose by Marcus Garvey on a sheet with a fine pen-and-ink portrait of him, 1922."

Black Art Project (BAP) reports that this auction is especially strong in the following sections: slavery and abolition, the Civil War, and music. According to Rebecca Weiss, Media Relations at Swann Galleries, “Featured items include a very unusual ballast stone that was recovered in 1992 from the wreck of a 16th-century English slave ship off Little Bahama Banks, whose hard surface is incised with a depiction of an elephant’s face that is similar to masks made by the Guro people of West Africa.”

Slavery and Abolition:
There are a number of items pertaining to Frederick Douglass, including “three 1859 issues of Frederick Douglass’ Paper reporting the aftermath of John Brown’s unsuccessful raid at Harpers Ferry, and a scarce copy of the 1848 printing of Frederick Douglass’ Narrative, bound and published by Douglass in Rochester.”

The Civil War:
This section features “55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry soldier David Spears’s NCO parade saber in its original leather scabbard; and a September 1865 letter from William Traill, one of three African-American brothers who were soldiers, detailing the hardships of service in the final days of the war.”

Two items of particular note are highlighted in this section, including an “autograph music manuscript by John Coltrane, 1950s-60s; and a series of original acetate masters from 1956 containing 33 Billie Holiday classics.”

As more information becomes available, particularly archival and primary sources relating to the visual arts, BAP will share. The catalogue, accompanying each of these auctions, is always a recommended source to add to your personal library.

No comments:

Post a Comment