African American Art: December 2020 Highlights

Lot 73: Wadsworth Jarrell, Subway, acrylic on canvas, 1970. Estimate $100,000 to $150,000.

At Auction December 10, 2020

Previewing by Appointment Only Through Wednesday, December 9

This sale will include significant works by innovative artists, including a fine example of Gamin, an iconic sculpture of the Harlem Renaissance, by Augusta Savage, which was acquired directly from the artist. Faith Ringgold’s Tut and Betty—a fabulous disco couple from 1979—is a highlight of the sale: the pair of soft sculptures will be the first of Ringgold’s wonderful dolls to come to auction, an important but rarely exhibited facet of her work. Water Baby, 1987, an excellent example of Emma Amos’s late 1980’s series of paintings of women bathers, and Head, a dynamic 2004 stoneware sculpture by Simone Leigh, also feature. The auction includes several prints and multiples by contemporary artist Kara Walker, including her large 1996 lithograph, l’ll Be a Monkey’s Uncle. A strong group of post-war and contemporary abstract and figurative paintings includes work by Ernie Barnes, Frank Bowling, Sam Gilliam, Kenneth Victor Young, and Hughie Lee-Smith, with Man with the White Flag, a large 1987 canvas that epitomizes the surrealism found in his late-career painting.

Lot 11: Augusta Savage, Gamin, plaster painted gold, circa 1929. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.


Lot 15: Norman Lewis, Untitled (Head of a Mule, French Sudan), color pastel on sandpaper, 1935. Estimate $10,000 to $15,000.
Lot 28: John N. Robinson, Reclining Woman (Gladys), oil on canvas board, 1952. Estimate $40,000 to $60,000.


Lot 83: Romare Bearden, Woman and Child, paper collage on board, 1968. Estimate $150,000 to $250,000.
Lot 39: Thomas Sills, New Born, oil on canvas, 1958. Estimate $50,000 to $75,000.
Lot 41: Charles Alston, Black and White #8, oil on canvas, 1961. Estimate $100,000 to $150,000.
Lot 118: Frank Bowling, Repose for SO, acrylic on canvas, 1976. Estimate $75,000 to $100,000.

Contemporary Art

Lot 192: Simone Leigh, Head, glazed and painted fired stoneware, 2004. Estimate $75,000 to $100,000.
Lot 202: Kerry James Marshall, Vignette (Wishing Well), color etching and aquatint with drypoint, 2010. Estimate $30,000 to $40,000.
Lot 121: Faith Ringgold, Tut and Betty, soft fabric construction, human hair and fabric paint mounted on wood bases, 1979. Estimate $80,000 to $120,000.
Lot 170: Sam Gilliam, Snow Lane #7, acrylic, monoprint, color relief and collage on an assemblage of handmade papers with aluminum fasteners, 1996. Estimate $25,000 to $35,000.
Lot 151: Emma Amos, Water Baby, acrylic and fabric collage on canvas, 1987. Estimate $35,000 to $50,000.

What You Need to Know for Auction Day

There will not be bidding in the room, though we accept order bids, and interested buyers will be able to participate live via the Swann Galleries App. The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play, which can also be accessed on a desktop at

Please note: phone bidding registrations will close the day before the sale at 4pm.

At this time, our exhibition and auction location at 104 East 25th Street is closed to the public. Private viewings are available by appointment only, and must be arranged in advance. To make an appointment please contact the specialist.


Nigel Freeman

Director, African American Art

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