Specialist Selections: American Prints

The catalogue for our upcoming March 8 auction of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings features an extensive selection of American works on paper. Over the past two decades, Swann has focused on offering the work of American printmakers alongside European masters, and this auction’s wide variety of American offerings are a testament to that commitment.

Below, each specialist in our Prints & Drawings Department has selected a favorite American prints from the upcoming auction and shared their thoughts on the works.


Winslow Homer, "Fly Fishing, Saranac Lake," etching, American Prints

Lot 159: Winslow Homer, Fly Fishing, Saranac Lake, etching, 1889. Estimate $80,000 to $120,000.


Swann Vice President and Director of Prints & Drawings Todd Weyman selected Winslow Homer’s 1889 etching, Fly Fishing, Saranac Lake. Todd noted that the piece “at once captures the peaceful solitude and rugged outdoorsmanship of an Upstate New York fisherman deftly bringing in his catch.”


Grant Wood, Sultry Night, lithograph, American Prints

Lot 286: Grant Wood, Sultry Night, lithograph, 1939. Estimate $15,000 to $20,000.


Senior Specialist Sylvie François favors Grant Wood’s 1939 lithograph Sultry Night, describing it as “a seemingly quotidian scene of farm life that, like the artists’s ubiquitous American Gothic, 1930, is cloaked in manifold layers of meaning that ultimately reflect Wood’s repressed sexuality.” There is also an interesting backstory behind this dramatic print. 


Martin Lewis, Spring Night, Greenwich Village, drypoint and sandpaper ground, American Prints

Lot 252: Martin Lewis, Spring Night, Greenwich Village, drypoint and sandpaper ground, 1930. Estimate $15,000 to $20,000.


Specialist Diana Flatto chose Martin Lewis’s luminous Spring Night, Greenwich Village, 1930, “in which the artist expertly handles the intaglio medium to convey light and perspective, depicting the nostalgia of classic New York in a scene that remains familiar today.” 


Edward Hopper, Night Shadows, etching, American Prints

Lot 210: Edward Hopper, Night Shadows, etching, 1921. Estimate $25,000 to $35,000.


Lisa Crescenzo, who handles Client Relations for the Prints & Drawings Department, appreciates Edward Hopper’s 1921 etching Night Shadows, where “the unique bird’s eye view establishes the viewer as a hidden witness to this ambiguous urban scene.” 


Gustave Baumann, Cliff Dwellings, color woodcut, American Prints

Lot 192: Gustave Baumann, Cliff Dwellings, color woodcut, circa 1920. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000. 


Department Administrator Jessica Feldman selected Gustave Baumann’s color woodcut Cliff Dwellings, ” for the artist’s vibrant use of color which makes this deceivingly straightforward nature scene come alive. Figurative, yet abstract, this print exemplifies Baumann’s mastery of the woodcut medium.”


For a look at more masterful works by American printmakers, take a look at the complete catalogue