Thriv­ing Cat­e­gory

Swann Gal­leries’ african-amer­i­can art sale to fea­ture mas­ter­pieces from 20th cen­tury black artists

American Fine Art Magazine - - Museum Preview: Pasadena, Ca -

Swann Gal­leries’ African-amer­i­can art sale to fea­ture mas­ter­pieces from 20th cen­tury black artists

Im­por­tant works from a num­ber of prom­i­nent black artists will be of­fered dur­ing Swann Auc­tion Gal­leries’ Oc­to­ber 4 African-amer­i­can Fine Art Sale in Newyork City.

“Ev­ery auc­tion has a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion ac­cord­ing to the con­sign­ments we get, but this one is par­tic­u­larly strong with its mod­ern and fig­u­ra­tive works, all of them ex­cep­tional, es­pe­cially from pain­ters in the 1940s,” says Nigel Free­man, the direc­tor of Swann’s Africanamer­i­can art depart­ment.

Two stand­out pieces, Free­man says, are Eldzier Cor­tor’s Sea of Time and Beau­ford De­laney’s Un­ti­tled (The Artist and Woman Seated), both es­ti­mated to sell separately for $200,000 to $300,000.

“For Cor­tor and De­laney, these are two of their most sig­nif­i­cant works to come to auc­tion. Both are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the artists’ works, both show the artists’ level of ac­com­plish­ment, and both are very de­vel­oped pieces.the Cor­tor is es­pe­cially beau­ti­ful with these in­ter­est­ing el­e­ments of sur­re­al­ism and sym­bol­ism.the fig­ure is re­ally beau­ti­ful, which is some­thing he was known for, these amaz­ing por­traits of African-amer­i­can women. He re­ally el­e­vated them in his work,” Free­mans says. “the De­laney is also quite won­der­ful. It’s a self-por­trait of the artist seated next to a woman in an apart­ment in­te­rior. this piece is not well doc­u­mented, but it is seen in a pho­to­graph from the stu­dio in 1944. It was also ex­hib­ited at his most re­cent ret­ro­spec­tive.”

Other works in the sale in­clude Robert Co­le­scott’s Down in the Dumps: So Long Sweet­heart (est. $35/50,000), Hughie Lee-smith’s sur­real Man with Bal­loons (est. $150/250,000) and Charles White’s No­body Knows My Name #1 (est. $100/150,000), which will likely get an added boost due to a ma­jor trav­el­ing ret­ro­spec­tive on White that opens at the Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art on Oc­to­ber 7.

“The tim­ing is very for­tu­nate, but we’ve also been de­vel­op­ing White’s mar­ket for a long time and just re­cently set a ma­jor record for him,” Free­man says. “The work it­self was made in

1965 and it re­ally speaks to the times, at the height of the civil rights strug­gle. It’s an Africanamer­i­can man sur­rounded by all this dark­ness and to­tally iso­lated. The ti­tle is lit­er­ally No­body Knows My Name, which goes back to Ralph El­li­son’s book In­vis­i­ble

Man. It’s a pow­er­ful draw­ing with beau­ti­ful tech­nique, and one of the more ab­stract of White’s works. He re­ally was a fig­ure artist, but here he’s re­duced it to just a face.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, the auc­tion will be of­fer­ing two Elizabeth Catlett sculp­tural pieces: the stone work Head (Head of a Man) (est. $200/300,000), which was cre­ated early in her ca­reer and was owned by White, who Catlett was briefly mar­ried to; and the red ma­hogany piece El Abrazo (est. $150/250,000), which was mostly com­plete at the time of her death in 2012. Catlett was re­spon­si­ble for the de­sign and the sculpt­ing, and her son and stu­dio as­sis­tant, David Mora Catlett, com­pleted the rough­ing and pol­ish­ing.

Other lots in the sale in­clude pieces from Alvin D. Lov­ing Jr., Charles Ethan Porter and Wil­liam H. John­son.

Beau­ford De­laney (1901-1979), Un­ti­tled (The Artist and Woman Seated), 1940. Oil on can­vas, 30 x 36 in. Es­ti­mate: $200/300,000

Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) and David Mora Catlett,

36 x 18 in. Charles White (1918-1979), No­body Knows My Name #1, 1965. Char­coal and crayon on board, 29 x 39 in.Es­ti­mate: $100/150,000

Eldzier Cor­tor (1916-2015), Sea of Time, 1945. Oil on can­vas, Es­ti­mate: $200/300,000

El Abrazo, 2010-2017. Red ma­hogany, 35 x 17 in. Es­ti­mate: $150/250,000

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