LGBTQ+ Art, Material Culture & History

At Auction August 13, 2020

A Portion of Proceeds to Benefit NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

Lot 9: Oscar Wilde, “The secret of life is in Art,” autograph quotation dated and signed, 1882. $4,000 to $6,000.

19th & 20th Century Trailblazers

Our second annual auction dedicated to the art, material culture, and history of the LGBTQ+ community begins with items from the nineteenth century, including Oscar Wilde autographs and an early albumen print of Walt Whitman, circa 1867. Reaching into the twentieth century with exceptional material from nearly every decade; drawings and paintings by Mariette Lydis, Toyen, and Avel de Knight, photographs by George Platt Lynes and Carl Van Vechten, and an exemplary sculpture by Richmond Barthé.

Lot 4: William Kurtz, Walt Whitman, albumen print, circa 1867-69. $600 to $900.

Further Reading: The Elegant Sculptures of Richmond Barthé

1960-70s New York: Andy Warhol & Jack Smith

Many lots from the downtown scene in New York include runs of works by and about Andy Warhol and his circle (lots 90 to 101), as well as by performance artist Jack Smith (lots 102 to 109).

Lot 129: Manhattan Gay Scene Guide 1969, Summer Edition, issued just before Stonewall, Mattachine Book Service. $3,000 to $4,000.
Lot 99: Andy Warhol, Gilbert and George, Polaroids, 1975. $10,000 to $15,000.

1970-80s New York: David Wojnarowicz, Peter Hujar, Robert Mapplethorpe

Artist David Wojnarowicz is represented by rare works (lots 162 to 183) of his consigned through the estate of friend and fellow bandmate Brian Butterick. Works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring (lots 207 to 226) and Freddie Styles are highlights.

Lot 180: David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Genet with Dog), mixed media collage. $8,000 to $12,000.
Lot 161: Peter Hujar, Ethyl Eichelberger, silver print, 1981. $10,000 to $15,000.

Illustration Art: Antonio Lopez, Arnold Lobel & Zines

A plethora of zines and comics are in this sale, including Chelsea Boys, as well as fashion illustrations by Antonio Lopez and Maurice Sendak, and Arnold Lobel’s beloved Frog and Toad.

Lot 189: Daniel Abraham, original artwork for Stonewall Romances: A Tenth Anniversary Celebration, pen, ink and gouache, 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
Lot 146: Antonio Lopez, Europe is Wearing…, group of nine men’s fashion studies, graphite, 1974. $3,000 to $4,000.

Vintage Posters

Vintage posters depicting political and Gay Liberation actions, films, exhibitions and more, including posters for major figures like Candy Darling and Divine, are in abundance.

Lot 254: Susie Gaynes & Amy E. Bartell, Come Out… Come Out.. Wherever You Are / National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, 1987. $600 to $900.

Letters, Ephemera & Archives

Two autograph letters signed by Harvey Milk are a highlight within a small run of material related to the political leader. Other manuscript material includes a typed letter signed by an unidentified drama critic regards the trial of Oscar Wilde, and papers of a gay man from Wisconsin features correspondence with a fellow gay World War II veteran. Several archives are present, including an archive relating primarily to the nightlife and social experience in 1980s New York.

Lot 125: Harvey Milk, two autograph letters signed, to Pat Mormon, during his service in the U.S. Navy, 1954. $3,000 to $4,000.

1990s-Present New York: Paris is Burning, Hugh Steers & Penny Arcade

Featuring items from various art productions and drag ball culture that colored the scene in 1990s New York, including Angels in America, Penny Arcade, Bloolips, Holly Woodlawn and Paris is Burning. The auction concludes with recent works by Bob Ziering and Nick Hugh McCann.

Lot 265: Paris is Burning, photo offset poster by Anne Dutlinger, signed by film director Jennie Livingston, 1991. $400 to $600.

What You Need to Know for Auction Day

This auction will be held live and conducted remotely by Swann auctioneers taking bids from multiple platforms. While there will not be bidding in the room, we will be accepting order bids, and interested buyers will be able to participate live online via the Swann Galleries App. The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play, and it can also be accessed on a desktop at

Please note: limited phone bidding will be available for this auction. 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, from Monday, August 10 to Wednesday, August 12, and must be arranged in advance directly with the specialist.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Specialist for the Sale

Nicholas D. Lowry

President & Principal Auctioneer

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