NEW YORK—Swann Galleries’ auction of African-American Fine Art on Tuesday, Oct. 7 offers important works of art by significant artists from prestigious collections. Most notably, there are seminal Abstract Expressionist works by Charles Alston, Norman Lewis and Hale Woodruff from the collection of the late Judge Edward R. Dudley, the first African-American appointed U.S. ambassador, and his wife Rae O. Dudley.
The Dudley collection contains some of the most important Abstract Expressionist works by African-Americans ever to come to auction, including Hale Woodruff’s modernist painting Land of Many Moons, oil on canvas, 1957, exhibited in his retrospective at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979 (estimate: $100,000 to $150,000); an Untitled abstraction by Norman Lewis, oil on canvas, circa 1960-64, an important, large painting with vibrant pinks and blues ($150,000 to 200,000); and another fine example of Lewis’s mid-career abstraction, Sunset #2, oil on canvas, 1960 ($40,000 to $60,000).
Swann has set record prices for original works by Charles White in recent sales, and this auction offers another extraordinary drawing by the artist: Frederick Douglass Lives Again (The Ghost of Frederick Douglass), pen and ink, 1949, from a series of drawings documenting the trials of African-Americans during the Jim Crow era ($100,000 to $150,000).
A highlight with an interesting association is an oil painting by Chicago artist Ellis Wilson that was a favorite of presidential candidate Barack Obama when it was displayed in his Senate office. The circa-1941-44 painting Machine Shop celebrates African-American workers and their contributions to the war effort ($40,000 to $60,000).
There are also four pieces by Dox Thrash from the Collection of Samuel and Sally Nowak and the Estate of Dox Thrash, including a pencil drawing Self-Portrait, early 1930s, and Philadelphia Rooftops, watercolor over pencil, circa 1940-50 ($10,000 to $15,000 each).
The sale also includes scarce artwork from the Harlem Renaissance. There is a portfolio with Eighteen Photographs by James VanDerZee, 1905-1938 ($15,000 to $20,000); a set of four woodcuts by Aaron Douglas from the Emperor Jones series 1926 ($10,000 to $15,000 for the set); two sculptures by Augusta Savage, an Untitled (Bust of a Young Boy), fired terracotta, circa late 1920s to early 1930s ($4,000 to $6,000), and Lift Every Voice and Sing, cast metal, circa 1939 ($10,000 to $15,000); and Lois Mailou Jones’ Chateau D’Ohlain, oil on canvas, 1947 ($10,000 to $15,000).
Mid 20th century highlights include Palmer Hayden’s Michie Field, West Point, oil on canvas, circa 1950-55 ($10,000 to $15,000); Hughie Lee-Smith’s The Juggler #1, oil on canvas from the artist’s metaphysical phase, circa 1964 ($60,000 to $90,000); Samella Lewis’s The White House, oil on canvas, 1969 ($7,000 to $10,000); and Alvin D. Loving Jr.’s Untitled (Hexagon Composition), acrylic on shaped canvas, circa 1967-69 ($20,000 to $30,000).
Among later works are Alvin Carl Hollingsworth’s Sundance, oil and acrylic on board, circa 1975 ($10,000 to $15,000); James Denmark’s Seated Nude, collage ($10,000 to $15,000); Elizabeth Catlett’s beautiful female bronze bust, Glory, 1981, from the first half of the edition of nine ($30,000 to $50,000); Benny Andrews’ A Driving Duo, mixed media with collage on paper, 1999 ($10,000 to $15,000); and several prints by Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence.
The auction will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 2:30 p.m.
The works of art will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries on Wednesday, Oct. 1 through Friday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 4, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Tuesday, Oct. 7, from 10 a.m.-noon.
A full-color illustrated catalog, 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 Web site.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.