9 New Auction Records in Fall 2019 Auction of African-American Fine Art


 

Elizabeth Catlett Sculpture Realizes $389,000—A Record Price for Any Work by the Artist

 

The October 29 auction of African-American Fine resulted in nine new auction records, supported by a room brimming with bidders—in fact, there were just enough chairs for everyone. Most notably, Swann set a new record for Elizabeth Catlett with the carved mahogany sculpture Seated Woman, 1962, at $389,000. The artist’s previous record was also held by Swann from the 2009 sale of Homage to My Young Black Sisters, 1968, for $288,000. A monumental, much-anticipated canvas by Kenneth Victor Young realized $233,000, a record for the artist.


 
Elizabeth Catlett, Seated Woman, carved mahogany sculpture of a woman sitting, 1962.
Elizabeth Catlett, Seated Woman, carved mahogany, 1962. Sold for $389,000, a record for the artist.
 
Kenneth Victor Young, Untitled (Abstract Composition), acrylic of a purple, pink and yellow dotted abstraction on canvas, 1972.
Kenneth Victor Young, Untitled (Abstract Composition), acrylic on canvas, 1972. Sold for $233,000, a record for the artist.
   
   

Beaming after such a busy sale, Director Nigel Freeman commented on the success of the day:

 

“High prices and new auction records for Elizabeth Catlett, Allan Rohan Crite, Sargent Johnson and William H. Johnson—all important figures from the first generation of modern African-American artists—shows the growing breadth of the African-American art market. Elizabeth Catlett was especially deserving of a new record, and Seated Woman was the perfect work to do it, embodying all the wonderful qualities found in her wood sculpture. Another trend was the rising popularity and value of the paintings of Hughie Lee-Smith and Walter Williams—two significant mid-century painters Swann has specialized in. We were also excited to set a new record for Kenneth Victor Young, more than doubling his previous auction record with his largest painting to come to auction, setting the bar for his emerging secondary market.”

   
 

Watch: Nigel Freeman  in Conversation with Danny Simmons & Rebecca Pietri

 
Danny Simmons, Nigel Freeman & Rebecca Pietri in a panel at Swann on October 1, 2019.
   
   
Allan Rohan Crite, Play at Dark (Westminster Street, Madison Park), oil of a night sceen of children and mothers at a park on board, 1935. This sold for an auction record.
Allan Rohan Crite, Play at Dark (Westminster Street, Madison Park), oil on board, 1935. Sold for $185,000, a record for the artist.
 
Sargent Johnson, Head of a Negro Boy, painted terra cotta of a small bust of a little boy, circa 1934. This sold for an auction record.
Sargent Johnson, Head of a Negro Boy, painted terra cotta, circa 1934. Sold for $125,000, a record for the artist.
 
Romare Bearden, Girl in a Garden, collage of various papers & printed fabrics, with ink on board, 1972.
Romare Bearden, Girl in a Garden, collage of various papers & printed fabrics, with ink on board, 1972. Sold for $197,000.
   

Tell Us About What You Have

 

Founded by Nigel Freeman in 2006, the African-American Fine Art department at Swann Galleries handles a range of material spanning the late nineteenth century to the Harlem Renaissance, as well as modern and contemporary art. Sales consistently break auction records for well-known artists and establish records for artists with no previous auction history.

 

Over the years the department has handled exceptional single-owner collections:

The department welcomes inquiries: learn more about consigning with us here. We’re interested in hearing about the material you have—send us a note below.

 
 
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Henry Ossawa Tanner, At the Gates (Flight into Egypt), oil on panel of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus fleeing into Egypt, circa 1926-27.
Henry Ossawa Tanner, At the Gates (Flight into Egypt), oil on panel, circa 1926-27. Sold for $341,000.
 
Walter Williams, Sunflower Girl, oil on canvas of a young girl in a widow with sunflowers in the foreground, circa 1951-52.
Walter Williams, Sunflower Girl, oil on canvas, circa 1951-52. Sold for $81,250.
   
   

Want to learn about future African-American Fine Art auctions?

 

Our African-American Fine Art specialists organize at least two auctions dedicated to the category each year, and we’d love to see you at the next auction or exhibition. There are many ways to stay in touch: opt-in to Auction Updates for email reminders about auction dates, when new catalogues are posted, sale highlights and exhibition openings; sign up for our newsletter to get periodic auction news and highlights; or download our live bidding app to browse, bid and livestream sales on the go.

 
 

Browse Results for African-American Fine Art Fall 2019

 
African-American Fine Art exhibition at Swann for fall 2019.
Exhibition preview.