“It was an honor and a thrill to close this chapter of the Johnson Publishing Company’s illustrious history with a perfect sale of their works. The sale of the collection was the perfect storm of an auction—a prestigious name anchored with significant works by important artist, but with a wonderful new group of artists fresh to the secondary market, providing numerous opportunities for collectors.”
Nigel Freeman, director of Swann Galleries’ African-American Fine Art department, remarked on the offering from the Ebony and Jet publishers
Many of the works in the collection came from the 1970s. Highlights included Dindga McCannon’s 1970 oil on canvas The Last Farewell. McCannon was present in the auction room as her work made its market debut to a roar of applause, at $161,000.
Kenneth Victor Young’s vibrant 1971 oil on canvas abstraction in greens and yellows Upper Egypt crossed the block at $87,500. Fresh off its exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Francis A. Sprout’s 1971 acrylic on canvas Azo garnered $50,000, an auction debut for Sprout.
Elizabeth Catlett’s 1973 cast bronze sculpture Sister was won for $149,000. Additional highlights in sculpture featured Richmond Barthé, whose cast bronze bust The Negro Looks Ahead, 1944, brought $50,000.
“An auctioneer can wait for an entire career to have a sale like Thursday’s, but when it happens it is a transcendent feeling—a validation of all our strength together,”