Saturday, February 16, 2013

Results of Swann's African-American Fine Art Sale 2303

Swann Auction Galleries' African-American Fine Art Sale 2303 on February 14, 2013 brought in $1,628,165 with buyer’s premium, exceeding its pre-sale low estimate of $1,548,000. Of the 147 lots that were offered at auction, 124 sold (84% sell-through rate by lot). According to Nigel Freeman, Director of African-American Fine Art at Swann Galleries, “We are very pleased with the results of yesterday’s sale, which saw strong prices across all genres and eras, with active bidding for 19th century paintings, 20th century modern art and post-war contemporary works.”

Thirty (30) lots, many of which were in the lower to mid-range, sold above their pre-sale high estimates. However, a few lots in the 5 figure range exceeded their high estimates and are worth noting. Examples of those lots follow: Lot 8 (Albert Alexander Smith, Spinning a Yarn) had a high estimate of $12,000 and sold for $24,000 with buyer’s premium; Lot 12 (Richmond Barthé, Feral Benga) with a high estimate of $30,000 sold for $43,200; Lot 90 (Sam Gilliam, Butterfly, Feeling) sold for $72,000, doubling its high estimate of $35,000; and Lot 140 (Elizabeth Catlett, Sharecropper) had a high  estimate of $25,000 and sold for $43,200. Albert Alexander Smith (Spinning a Yarn) and Sam Gilliam (Butterfly, Feeling) received artist records, and Catlett's Sharecropper was a record price of her work in this medium. All prices are with buyer's premium.  

The top selling lots in Sale 2303, emphasizing those that sold above $100,000,  follow:

Lot 85: Barkley L. Hendricks, The Hawk, Blah, Blah, Blah (oil and DayGlo on canvas, 1970) sold to a collector for $132,000. This was the highest selling piece in the auction.  
Barkley L. Hendricks, The Hawk, Blah, Blah, Blah

Lot 63: Hughie Lee-Smith, Poet #4 (oil on Masonite, 1954) sold for $120,000 to an institution. This piece was exhibited at Howard University Gallery of Art, Howard University, Washington, DC, 1955.

Hughie Lee-Smith, Poet #4

Lot 91: William T. Williams, Up Balls (acrylic on canvas, 1971) sold for $120,000 and goes to an institution. The artist tied his auction record with this sale.

William T. Williams, Up Balls

Lot 141: Elizabeth Catlett, Sister (green marble sculpture, 1971) sold for $114,000 to a collector.

Elizabeth Catlett, Sister

Charles White hit a record for his etchings in this auction, selling Lot 100 (Missouri C) for $26,400 to a collector; however, I was surprised that his Lot 62 (Trumpet Player) did not sell. It was one of my personal favorites. 

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