Thursday, September 17, 2015

RESULTS: Swann's African-American Fine Art Sale 2390, The Art Collection of Maya Angelou

Swann Auction Galleries' African-American Fine Art Sale 2390 held on September 15th brought in $1,294,200 with buyer’s premium, doubling its pre-sale high estimate ($637,000) for the sale as a whole. Of the 44 lots that were offered at auction, 43 sold (98% sell-through rate by lot). Over the years of reporting the results of this auction, I can't ever  recall a 98% sell-through rate which attests to its success. According to Nigel Freeman, Swann Galleries’ Director of African-American Fine Art, “We are absolutely thrilled–this auction exceeded all of our expectations and reinforced the great status of Dr. Angelou as an American cultural icon. It was an honor to handle her collection." 

Select highlights from The Art Collection of Maya Angelou: African-American Fine Art (Sale 2390) are featured in this post, focusing on those lots in which an artist auction record was established. All price quotes for art sold include buyer's premium.

Lot 32 FAITH RINGGOLD (1930 - )
Maya's Quilt of Life
(Acrylic on canvas and painted, dyed and pieced fabrics, 1989. 1854x1854 mm; 73x73 inches. Inscribed "Maya's Quilt of Life by Faith Ringgold © 1989")

Maya's Quilt had an high estimate of $250,000 and it sold to a private individual/collector for $461,000. *Maya’s Quilt of Life (1989) was acquired by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. (*updated 09/19/2015).

Lot 3
JOHN BIGGERS (1924 - 2001)
Kumasi Market (
Oil and acrylic on masonite board, 1962. 863x1524 mm; 34x60 inches. Signed and dated in oil, left edge, center.)

Lot 3, Kumasi Market, was the second highest selling lot. It had an  estimate of $100,000 - 150,000 and sold to a private individual/collector for $389,000.

Lot 44
OWWA Maya (
Welded steel, 2011. 254x178x102 mm; 10x7x4 inches. Signed and titled in steel, verso.)

Lot 44 was one of my personal favorites and I have a special spot for a piece such as this. OWWA Maya exceeded its $12,000 high estimate and sold to a dealer for $40,000. 

Lot 38
Maya Angelou (
Silver print with extensive hand coloring, 1993. 254x267 mm; 10x10 1/2 inches, full margins. Signed and dated 11/93 in ink, lower margin, with the artist's ink stamp verso.)

This photograph of Maya Angelou, Lot 38, had an estimate of $1,000 - 1,500. It far surpassed that estimate with a realized price of $17,500, and was purchased by an institution.

Lot 15  
Catnap (Collage of various papers and mixed media on cotton canvas, 1980. 914x914 mm; 36x36 inches. Signed in brush and ink, lower right recto. Signed, titled, dated and inscribed "©" and with the artist's contact information in ink, lower center verso.)

Catnap is an excellent example of Phoebe Beasley's popular work in collage. With an estimate of $4,000 - 6,000, Lot 15 sold for $11,875 to a private individual/collector.

Lot 39 ALONZO ADAMS (1961 - )
Phenomenal Woman (Watercolor and pencil, 1993. 565x756 mm; 22 1/4x29 3/4 inches. Signed, titled, dated and inscribed "To: Dr. Angelou - You give me hope and inspiration" in pencil, lower left and right.)

Phenomenal Woman with an estimate of $3,000 - 5,000, sold for $10,000 to a private individual/collector.

Lot 40
Jimmy's Blues (
Oil on cotton canvas, circa 1987. 508x406 mm; 20x16 inches. Signed and inscribed "To Maya Angelou: Thanks for the inspiration" in ink, upper right.)

Jimmy's Blues, a portrait of the late writer James Baldwin, gets its title from the author's 1985 book of poetry. Lot 40, Jimmy's Blues, had an estimate of $1,000 - 1,500. It sold for $9,375 to a private individual/collector.  

Lot 41
His Story (
Acrylic and collage on cotton canvas, circa 2008. 610x762 mm; 24x30 inches. Signed in acrylic, lower right.)

Lot 41, His Story, had an estimate of $2,000- 3,000 and sold to a private individual/collector for $7,500. 

SEE Final Results for all lots in Sale 2390 

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