Yesterday’s Top Lots: African-American Fine Art

Yesterday’s auction of African-American Fine Art saw heated bidding from dealers, collectors and institutions, resulting in strong prices for works by modern and contemporary artists.

Charles White’s powerful drawing of a worker was the sale’s top lot.

The sale’s top lot was Charles White’s large-scale drawing Work, crayon and charcoal on board, 1953, which brought $306,000. It was the second highest price paid at auction for a work by White–the highest was his General Moses (Harriet Tubman), Chinese ink on two joined sheets of illustration board, 1965, which sold at Swann in October 2007 for $360,000.

Barkley Hendricks’s Twins are typical of his cool, stylish portrait subjects 

Also selling just below the previous artist record was Barkley L. Hendricks’s Twins, oil and acrylic on canvas diptych, 1977, which sold for $108,000. The artist’s Bid ‘Em In/Slave (Angie), oil and acrylic on canvas, 1973 , sold for $144,000 in Swann’s October 2009 auction.

Duncanson was the first African-American landscape painter to gain international renown.

Rounding out the top lots were Robert S. Duncanson’s Untitled (Landscape), oil on canvas, late 1850s, which went to an institution for $120,000; and two untitled gouache paintings by Jacob Lawrence of Card Players, panels from a folding screen, circa 1941-42, $108,000.

These panels by Jacob Lawrence were likely realized while he was on honeymoon
in New Orleans in late 1941/early 1942.

Artist records that were set in the sale included Joseph Delaney’s Low Key, oil on canvas, circa 1945, $33,600 and Loïs Mailou Jones, Marché de Kenscoff, Haiti, oil on canvas, 1962, $32,400.

This painting set a new artist record for Joseph Delaney.
One of the fine paintings by Loïs Mailou Jones from her estate that was offered in the auction.