Records & Results: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings

Ismar Littmann Family Collection Shines in 

Swann Galleries’ Prints & Drawings Sale


Our sale of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings on March 5 earned $2.7M, with property from the Ismar Littmann Family Collection of German Expressionism & European Avant-Garde forming the cornerstone of the auction.


Etching of Dr. Gachet smoking a pipe by Vincent van Gogh
Lot 258: Vincent van Gogh, Homme à la Pipe: Portrait du Docteur Gachet, etching, 1890.


The Littmann Family Collection

Prints & Drawings Director & Vice President, Todd Weyman, on the collection:

“We are very pleased with sale of property from the Littmann Family. We surpassed the total low estimate for the collection and saw active bidding for items from both American and European private collectors alike with Käthe Kollwitz, Otto Mueller, Emil Orlik and Max Pechstein being standout artists.”

Top lots from the collection included Sommer I, 1912, by Max Pechstein, which surged past its high estimate of $15,000, bringing $81,250, a record for the work, as well as Pechstein’s Reisebilder: Italien–Sudsee, 1919, which earned $25,000.


A woodcut print of figures on the beach by Max Pechstein.
Lot 93: Max Pechstein, Sommer I, woodcut with hand watercolor, 1912. Sold for $81,250, a record for the work.


A pair of color lithographs from 1926-27 by Otto Mueller–Lagernde Zigeunerfamilie mit Ziege and Zwei Zigeunerinnen (Zigeunermutter mit Tochter)–brought top prices at $32,500 and $25,000, respectively. Emil Orlik’s oil on board, Still leben, 1914, topped its low estimate at $16,250, and a 1905 charcoal figure study by Käthe Kollwitz garnered $27,500. 


Figure study by Käthe Kollwitz
Lot 66: Käthe Kollwitz, Figuren Studien, charcoal, circa 1905. Sold for $27,500.


Modernist Stalwarts

The afternoon portion of the sale did not slow, bringing the top lot of the auction: Van Gogh’s only etching, Homme à la Pipe: Portrait du Docteur Gachet, 1890, with $106,250. Salvador Dalí followed close behind with the watercolor, Don Quichotte e Sancio Panza, 1964, at $100,000, while La Conquête du Cosmos I & II, a 1974 complete set of 12 color drypoints by the artist, brought $31,200.


Watercolor of Don Quixote on his horse by Salvador Dalí
Lot 559: Salvador Dalí, Don Quichotte e Sancho Panza, watercolor with pen & ink, 1964. Sold for $100,000.


Additional works included Roses et Mimosa, a color lithograph from 1975 by Marc Chagall at $27,500; Joan Miró’s color aquatint, Le Permissionaire, 1974, with $47,500. Picasso’s Tête sur Fond noir, sold for $25,000, a record for the 1953 lithograph. Also of note was Sonia Delaunay’s exuberant color pochoir and watercolor illustration of Blaise Cendrars’ poem La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France, 1913, which earned $87,500.


Portion of Sonia Delaunay's water color illustration with swirling modern design on the left and Blaise Cendrars' poem on the right.
Lot 393: Sonia Delaunay, La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France, by Blaise Cendrars, color pochoir with hand-applied watercolor on four joined sheets, 1913. Sold for $87,500.


Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch was well represented in the sale with a run of lithographs: Harpyie, 1899, which depicts the denizen of the underworld over a skeleton brought $30,000, and Alfas død, 1908-09, whose composition bears similarities to Munch’s iconic Scream garnered $22,500; both were record-setting prices for the works. August Strindberg, an 1896 portrait of the Swedish poet, writer and close friend of the artist was won for $30,000.


Black and white lithograph by Edvard Munch of a male figure grapsing his face in an "oh no" position.
Lot 476: Edvard Munch, Alfas død, lithograph, 1908-09. Sold for $22,500, a record for the lithograph.


Italian Masters

Italian masters were present with Giorgio Morandi’s 1956 etching, Natura Morta con Cinque Oggetti, which exemplified the primary focus of the artist’s oeuvre, brought $47,500, and Femme nue, a 1915 pencil drawing by Amedeo Modigliani earned $33,800.


Black and white still-life etching by Giorgio Morandi of water pitchers.
Lot 612: Giorgio Morandi, Natura Morta con Cinque Oggetti, etching, 1956. Sold for $47,500.


Additional highlights included Winslow Homer’s line-based etching of rural women, Mending the Tears, 1888, which set a record with $30,000, and Illustrations of the Book of Job, 1826, by William Blake, a complete set of 22 engravings, saw a price of $87,500.


Complete Results.

More about selling at Swann.