Phoebe Beasley : A Bright Look At Everyday Life

Celebrated artist Phoebe Beasley’s collages, paintings and screenprints play with color, pattern and texture while depicting scenes of family, community and everyday life. Three of Beasley’s works are included in The Art Collection of Maya Angelou up for auction at Swann Galleries on September 15, 2015.
Lot 35. Phoebe Beasley, Play it Pretty for the People, mixed media collage, 1994. Estimate $3,000 to $5,000.

Beasley’s work has garnered appreciation from a wide variety of audiences, including grabbing the attention of three U.S. presidents, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Her work has twice been awarded the Presidential Seal, making her the only artist to twice receive that honor. 


Lot 34: Phoebe Beasley, Fine China, color screenprint, 1993. Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.


Beyond her presidential honors, Beasley had a close relationship with Dr. Maya Angelou, collaborating with her on a book of Langston Hughes poems. Dr. Angelou once said of Beasley’s work, “Phoebe Beasley gives substance to the phrase creative artist if indeed the phrase isn’t redundant. As a painter, her eye is sharp and quick. She sees human beings, our foibles, frailties and strengths and she cares about what she sees. I have watched her over the past twenty years use gouache, watercolor, tissue paper and oil to tell the human story of friends sitting at tables sharing jokes, of workers waiting at bus stops and musicians expressing their soulful melodies. She has shown us how we look when we have been assailed by grief. Her eye has captured and her art has revealed the grace in angular teenagers and the composure of sleeping old women.”


Lot 15: Phoebe Beasley, Catnap, mixed media collage, 1980. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.