LGBTQ+ Art, Material Culture & History—At Auction August 19, 2021

Lot 166: JEB (Joan E. Biren), Gloria and Charmaine, silver print, 1979. Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.

Lot 219: Hugh Steers, Haircut, oil on canvas, 1987. Estimate $12,000 to $18,000.

This year Swann Galleries holds a third annual auction dedicated to the art, material culture, and history of the LGBTQ+ community, bringing to market both familiar artists as well as fresh, unusual and infrequently seen material. Among the art highlights are several original works by Tom of Finland, including two preparatory drawings and a completed, color pencil work, Home—Secured; and four oil paintings by Hugh Steers—two canvases and two works on paper. Also included are works by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, David Wojnarowicz, Nan Goldin, Patrick Angus, Lowell Nesbit, Robert BlissNicole Eisenman, Robert LoughlinPaul Cadmus, Jean Cocteau, Avel de Knight, Pavel Tchelitchew, Duncan Grant and others.

Lot 20: A rare album with more than 150 exceptional photographs, all featuring highly stylized and elegant men cross dressing, 1930-41. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.

A significant section of important photographic works includes prints by Diane Arbus, Peter Hujar, Robert Mapplethorpe, George Platt Lynes, Carl van Vechten, Bruce Weber, John Patrick Dugdale, Laura Aguilar and many more. Within both the artistic and photographic genres are a number of fine male physique items, including Bruce of LA, Colt Studios, Neel Bate (Blade), and a rare George Quaintance painting.

Lot 162: Vincent Cianni, Marsha P. Johnson & Sylvia Rivera marching, NYC Gay Pride, silver print, 1987, printed later. Estimate $1,000 to $1,200.
Lot 1: Group of Oscar Wilde advertising cards and theatrical photos, 1880s-90s. Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.

Early material features very unusual group of historical Oscar Wilde advertising cards dating to his first tour around America in 1882. Twentieth-century material sees a group of gay rights fliers issued in the weeks after Stonewall in 1969 by the Mattachine Society, two greeting cards issued by the short-lived Third World Gay Liberation Group (a splinter group of the Gay Liberation Front), and an invitation to a Gay Independence Day Picnic thrown by the Madison Gay Liberation Front (1973). Also included is a small archive of personal papers from Don Amador relating to the 1979 March on Washington, and a version of the original Silence=Death poster, from the private collection of one of the designers, as well as a 1988 poster Silence=Death VOTE, an image which has previously not appeared at auction. A 1989 20th anniversary of Stonewall postcard with the “first ever gay-related U.S. Post Office cancellation,” and a wide variety of vintage posters.

Lot 218: David Wojnarowicz, Untitled for ACT UP, color screenprint diptych, 1990. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.

What You Need to Know on Auction Day

This auction will be held live and conducted remotely.

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, and are encouraged to be arranged in advance. To make an appointment please contact the specialist.


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