Swann Galleries Set Auction Records Set for 19th and 20th Century Prints and Portfolios

. May 16, 2011 . 0 Comments

Swann Galleries April 28 auction of Old Master through Modern Prints saw active bidding from collectors and dealers in the saleroom and via telephone. As a result, 10 new auction record prices were achieved for individual prints and portfolios.

The sale’s top lot was Marc Chagall’s Bible, 1931-39, with 105 etchings, one of 275 numbered copies signed in ink, which sold for $156,000*, a record price for the set without the hand-colored plates. An earlier record was set for the book in Swann’s November 2009 Art, Press & Illustrated Books sale, when it achieved $108,000.

Another record-setting set of prints was a copy of Du Cubisme, a portfolio with 11 etchings, engravings and aquatints by Duchamp, Gleizes, Laurencin, Picabia and others, 1947, which sold for $18,000. Also among the featured portfolios in the sale was Das Graphische Werk von Egon Schiele, portfolio with two lithographs, five drypoints, and one etching, 1914-18, $78,000.

Individual prints that brought record prices included several from the 19th century, such as James A.M. Whistler’s etching and drypoint The Beggars, 1879-80, $31,200; Charles Meryon’s La Morgue, etching and drypoint, 1854, and Claude Monet and George W. Thornley’s L’Abbaye dans la brume, lithograph printed in light blue, circa 1892, $28,800 each; and James Ensor’s La Vengeance de Hop-Frog, etching, 1898, which brought $22,800—a record for an impression without hand coloring.

Record prices were also realized for 20th- century prints, including two by M.C. Escher, Sky and Water I, woodcut on Japan paper, 1938, $22,800, and Three Worlds, lithograph, 1955, $19,200; Benton M. Spruance’s Riders of the Apocalypse, lithograph, 1943, $38,400; and Pablo Picasso’s L’Artiste et l’enfant, lithograph, 1949, $18,000.

Old Master prints of note included Rembrandt Van Rijn’s The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, etching, engraving and drypoint, 1634, $24,000, and Three Heads of Women, One Asleep, etching, 1637, $18,000; and a fifth state impression of Giovanni B. Piranesi’s An Immense Interior, etching and engraving, 1749, $15,600.

Among the significant 19th century works were Whistler’s Nocturne, lithograph on cream laid appliqué, 1878, $21,600; and Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s La Danse à la Campagne, 2e planche, soft-ground etching, circa 1890, $19,200.

American highlights included Bror J.O. Nordfeldt’s The Village Green, Twilight, color woodcut on Japan paper, 1906, $15,600; Gustave Baumann’s color woodcut The Bishop’s Apricot, circa 1930, $9,600; Diego Rivera’s Desnudo sentado con brazos levantados (Frida Kahlo), lithograph, 1930, $12,000; Martin Lewis’s Corner Shadows, drypoint, 1930, $10,800; and Samuel Margilies’s Men of Steel, drypoint, circa 1940, $9,600.

Rounding out the modern European prints were Georges Braque’s important Cubist etching Composition (Nature morte au verres), 1912, $31,200; Henri Matisse’s Danseuse au Miroir, lithograph on Japan paper, 1927, $15,600; Picasso’s Homme dévoilant une Femme, drypoint, 1931, $24,000; Alberto Giacometti’s Annette dans l’Atelier, lithograph, 1954, $10,800; and Joan Miró’s Tir à l’Arc, color etching, aquatint and carborundum, 1972, $11,400.

*All prices include buyer’s premium.

Category: Fine Art

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