African-American Fine Art Auction to Take Place Tomorrow at Swann Galleries
African-American Fine Art takes center stage at Swann Auction Galleries in NYC, tomorrow. The sale features an extraordinary selection of museum-quality paintings, sculptures and works on paper by important 19th and 20th century artists. Highlights include:
• CharLes White’s Songs of Life (estimate: $150,000 to $200,000) is a tour de force in pen and ink, and a recently discovered large and important drawing. White used this drawing in his application for his Whitney Fellowship in 1954 and it has not been exhibited since.
• Robert Duncanson’s Young America (estimate: $50,000 to $75,000); the earliest painting in the sale and a very scarce figurative work from the beginning of the artist’s career. This unusual depiction of a heroic young man raising both a sword and the American flag was possibly a commission by the subject’s parents before the boy was sent off to fight in the Mexican-American War
• A collection of four small but impressive works by Henry O. Tanner, oil studies for Biblical paintings by the artist (estimate range: $20,000 to $90,000). In addition, the collection includes a fine drawing study in a conte crayon and charcoal for The Head of Christ (estimate: $30,000 to $50,000).
• For the first time, Swann will offer two Eldzier Cortor paintings from important periods for the artist. Classical Composition No. 4, (estimate $200,000 to $250,000), a large, impressive oil, is the day’s top lot (pictured). Cortor is best known for elegant, elongated depictions of women that show the influences of his study of African sculpture, 19th-century French Painting and his travels to the Sea Islands and the West Indies.
• The large and evocative Boy with Flute by Hughie Lee Smith; a significant work from the mid-1960s that features the recurring image of a solitary boy with a wind instrument found in each of the artist’s major periods (estimate: $100,000 to $150,000)
Many more top artists are represented in this sale, including Hale Woodruff, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, William Edouard Scott and, Thelma Johnson Streat, among others.
Swann Auction Galleries is the only major auction house to conduct regular sales of African-American Fine Art, frequently setting benchmarks for works by important and lesser-known artists. Please contact me for more information about the October 18 sale, images or to arrange an interview with Swann Galleries’ Director of African-American Fine Art, Nigel Freeman.