Outstanding Paintings, Sculpture and Prints by Major Artists Featured in Swann Galleries February 19 Auction of African-American Fine Art

. February 14, 2008

New York, NY – On Tuesday, February 19 Swann Galleries will conduct the third auction organized by their new African-American Fine Art department. The sale offers 250 paintings, drawings, collages, prints and sculpture from notable collections and estates, and illustrates the full panorama of achievement by African-American artists–from Henry Ossawa Tanner to Faith Ringgold. Many of the works are recognizable because they have been included in important museum exhibitions and illustrated in catalogues and monographs.

There is a wonderful assembly of early and important artwork by Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, including Emperor Jones, gouache on illustration board,1926, one of few known studies for the well-known woodcut series (estimate: $30,000 to $50,000); Young Man in Repose, oil on canvas, circa 1934-5, a poignant work from the artist’s New York period ($30,000 to $50,000); a beautiful Haitian Landscape, oil on canvas, one of a few paintings from the artist’s 1938 travels on a Rosenwald Foundation fellowship ($50,000 to $75,000); and Building More Stately Mansions, oil on canvas board, 1944, a smaller variant of one of his most famous paintings at Fisk University ($100,000 to $150,000). The first-ever retrospective of Douglas’s work is currently on tour throughout the United States.

Swann’s February 2007 sale of African-American Fine Art included the first sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett ever to come to auction. This auction features three more stellar examples. The painted terracotta Head, an early work, of a young African-American woman, 1947 ($180,000 to $220,000), and Sister, a green marble bust of a woman, 1971 ($150,000 to $200,000) were both exhibited in the artist’s most recent retrospective at the Neuberger Museum of Art in 1998. Joan, a life-size nude torso is a majestic painted terracotta work from 1960 ($200,000 to $250,000).

A painting by Hale Woodruff achieved an artist record at Swann in the February 2007 auction. This sale contains paintings that span the length of Woodruff’s career and display his varied styles. He painted the stunning, modernist Woman by the Sea, 1930, while living in France ($70,000 to $100,000); Campus in Winter, circa 1931-33, dates from his first years as a professor in Atlanta ($50,000 to $75,000); Californian Hills, 1938, is a landscape in the lush, painterly style typical of his Mexican and Western travels ($40,000 to $60,000); Celestial Gate, circa 1953, is a colorful example from an abstract series ($40,000 to $60,000); and Europa and the Bull, circa 1958, is one of his largest known Abstract-Expressionist canvases ($120,000 to $180,000).

Other highlights among the paintings include William Henry Johnson’s Flowers in a Blue and White Vase, a great modern still life, oil on canvas, circa 1933-35, which epitomizes Johnson’s embrace of the European modern aesthetic ($60,000 to $90,000); Beauford Delaney’s iconic oil on canvas of early 1960s Paris, Untitled, and his Portrait of a Youth, oil on canvas, a gift to James Baldwin, painted in Istanbul in the summer of 1966 (each $50,000 to $75,000).

A monumental drawing by Charles White brought a record price at Swann’s October 2007 auction of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company African-American Art Collection. The present sale features another majestic charcoal and crayon drawing of a heroic woman, Lo, I am Black, 1978 ($200,000 to $250,000).

The auction offers many wonderful prints, including Johnson’s Self-Portrait, a very scarce, early woodcut from the early 1930s when the artist was in Denmark, and one of only a few known signed proofs ($30,000 to $50,000); Romare Bearden’s 1964 photo-stat projection print of Two Women in a Courtyard ($15,000 to $25,000); the color screenprint Baptism, 1975 ($25,000 to $35,000); and Jamming at the Savoy, color etching, 1981-82 ($10,000 to $15,000); Catlett’s In Harriet Tubman, I helped hundreds to freedom, linoleum cut, 1946-47 ($10,000 to $15,000), and Sharecropper, color linoleum cut, 1970 ($20,000 to $30,000); and a complete set of Jacob Lawrence’s historical series The Life of Touissant L’Ouverture, a group of 15 color screenprints, 1986-1997, based on paintings Lawrence created in 1938 ($100,000 to $150,000).

The auction will take place on Tuesday, February 19 at 1:30 p.m.

The works of art will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries on Wednesday, February 13, through Friday, February 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, February 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, February 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, February 19, from 10 a.m. to noon.

A full-color illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25 Street, New York, NY 10010, and can also be viewed online at www.swanngalleries.com. Bids can also be submitted by e-mail via the website.

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Nigel Freeman at (212) 254-4710, extension 33, or via email at nfreeman@swanngalleries.com.

Category: Auction News

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