Swann Galleries’ September prints & drawings sales yield multiple records

A dozen auction record prices were achieved for works of American art at Swann Galleries’ September auctions of works of art on paper. On Sep. 18 Swann conducted a 670-lot auction of 100 Fine Works on Paper; and 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings, followed by a sale of American Prints from a Private Collection on Sep. 23.

The top lot in the Sep. 18 auction was a scarce lifetime impression of James A.M. Whistler’s The Little Nude Model, Reading, lithograph on Japan paper, 1889-90, which brought a record $84,000. All prices include 20 percent buyer’s premium.

The Sep. 23 sale saw many more records for works by American artists. These included three Martin Lewis drypoints: Rainy Day, Queens, 1931, Wet Night, Route 6, 1933, and Yorkville Night, 1937, which brought $33,600, $19,200 and $26,400 respectively.

Also setting records were John Taylor Arms’s The Gates of the City, color aquatint and etching, 1922, $21,600; Gustave Baumann’s Cholla and Sahuaro, color woodcut, 1924, $21,600; Gerard Geerlings’ Jeweled City, Chicago, aquatint and etching, 1931, $28,800; Paul Landacre’s Growing Corn, wood engraving on Japan paper, 1932, $7,200; Benton Spruance’s Prelude to Rest, lithograph, 1935, $7,800; and Stow Wengenroth’s Manhattan Gateway, lithograph, 1948, $14,400.

The American Art sale featured the largest collection of Frank W. Benson prints ever offered in a single auction—most with sporting themes—and one of them also set a benchmark price, Old Tom, an etching from 1926, which sold for $14,400. Other notable Benson prints were Marsh Gunner, etching, 1918, $6,240; Hunters, etching on Japan paper, 1919, $3,360; and Man with a Gaff, drypoint, 1925, $3,360.

American highlights in the Fine Works on Paper sale included several unique works, such as Charles Burchfield’s Old Farmhouse and Trees, crayon on paper, 1932, $5,760; David Burliuk’s Conversation at the Well, oil on canvas, 1947, $19,200, and Repast, oil on board, circa 1947, $18,000; and Arthur B. Davies’ Two Figures with Deer, oil on canvas, $11,400.

Among the desirable European pieces were several prints by Picasso, including En la Taberna, Pêcheurs Catalans en bordée (Au Cabaret), etching, 1934, which sold for a record $40,800; Garçon et Dormeuse à la Chandelle, etching and aquatint, 1934, $26,400; La Femme au Fauteuil, color lithograph, 1947, $24,000; Tête de Faune, color linoleum cut, 1962, $26,400; the after print Tête de Buffon, color lithograph, circa 1964, a record $26,400; and Sable Mouvant, portfolio with complete text and 10 aquatints, 1966, $26,400.

Other European highlights were William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job, bound volume with 22 engravings, 1826, $40,800; Georges Rouault’s Automne, color aquatint, 1938, $28,800; Fernand Léger’s Les Plongeurs, gouache over pencil, 1942, $43,200; Lyonel Feininger’s Schiff, Abend am Meer, double-sided watercolor and black ink, 1946, $36,000; and Francis Bacon’s Figure Writing Reflected in a Mirror, color lithograph, 1976, $19,200.

For complete results, illustrated catalogs with prices realized are available from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.

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