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