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Fall 2015 Season Highlights

  • African-American Fine Art

    December 15

    This sale includes some of our African-American Fine Art Department's strongest offerings to date––with exceptional artworks from the Harlem Renaissance to the contemporary. Highlights include Aaron Douglas's The Street Urchinoil on canvas, 1938, a scarce painting from the artist's Haitian trip on a Rosenwald Scholarship. Another find is Romare Bearden's modernist oil painting The Annunciation1946, an early canvas exhibited at the Durand-Ruel Galleries in New York, alongside works by Beckmann and Chagall.

    Headlining the sale is Norman Lewis's large Untitledoil on canvas, circa 1958, a recently re-discovered and important painting from his signature 1950s period. This stunning abstract painting, made after the artist's trip to Europe in 1957, displays the influence of Picasso and Miró. Another excellent postwar abstraction is Fall Atmosphereacrylic on canvas, 1971, by Alma W. Thomas. 

    Elizabeth Catlett's beautiful Recognitionblack marble, 1970, epitomizes her mid-career sculpture and was exhibited in her important 1971-72 solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Barkley L. Hendrick's striking life-size portrait, Tuff Tonyoil and acrylic on canvas, 1978, was exhibited in both his 2008 traveling retrospective, The Birth of Cool, and the controversial 1994 exhibition Black Male at the Whitney Museum of American Art. 


    African-American Fine Art

    Lot 49: Norman Lewis, Untitled, oil on canvas, circa 1958. Sold for $965,000. 


    This masterful mid-century composition is a newly discovered and important example of Lewis's painting. This previously unrecorded painting, which has never been publicly exhibited, reveals yet another dimension to his late 1950s body of abstraction. In this painting, Lewis continues his investigation of the "ritual" calligraphic figures, moving further toward color field painting. In contrast to his intensely colored canvas sold at Swann on October 3, 2013, this canvas is an orchestration in tonal color and form. Here, Lewis both reveals and obscures a large, dense composition of his figures with a limited palette by deftly balancing the warm beige color of the linen canvas with cool washes of white. The figures, comprised of more modernist shapes, and less of his frenetic calligraphic line, confirm Lewis's inspiration from his European experience. More information about Norman Lewis can be found here.


    African-American Fine Art

    Lot 104: Barkley L. Hendricks, Tuff Tony, oil and acrylic on canvas, 1978. Sold for $365,000. 


    African-American Fine Art

    Lot 91: Elizabeth Catlett, Recognition, black marble on wood base, 1970. Sold for $125,000. 


    African-American Fine Art

    Lot 33: Romare Bearden, The Annunciation, oil on canvas, 1946. Sold for $125,000. 


    African-American Fine Art

    Lot 85: Alma W. Thomas, Fall Atmosphere, acrylic on canvas, 1971. Sold for $87,500. 


    African-American Fine Art

    Lot 130: Glenn Ligon, My Life In America, black oil stick on paper, 1994-95. Sold for $81,250. 


    African-American Fine Art

    Lot 11: Aaron Douglas, The Street Urchin, oil on canvas, circa 1938. Sold for $60,000. 



    For more information on any of the pieces in this auction, contact our African-American Fine Art Specialist Nigel Freeman. 

Swann Galleries, Inc.


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