2017-18 Year in Review

The 2017-18 auction season at Swann Galleries was replete with record prices and rediscovered paintings, offering works created as early as the fifteenth century and as recently as last year. We held our highest-grossing auction ever: African-American Fine Art on April 5, 2018 totaled $4.5 M. That sale also boasted the top price of the season: $725,000 for a 1956 oil on canvas by Norman Lewis. We also offered three major private collections: posters from the collection of Gail Chisholm, science fiction from the estate of Stanley Simon and select Americana and autographs form the collection of William Wheeler III.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights and records from the last year. Inspired? Learn how to consign at Swann.


Norman Lewis

Norman Lewis, Untitled, oil on canvas, 1956. Sold April 5, 2018 for $725,000, the second-highest price for the artist at auction.


African-American Fine Art


Charles White

Charles White, O Freedom, charcoal with crayon and wash, 1956. Sold April 5, 2018 for $509,000, a record for the artist.
O Freedom is currently displayed in White’s retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago.


Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence, 19. Tension on the High Seas, tempera on board, 1956.
Sold April 5, 2018 for $413,000.


Ossawa Tanner

Henry Ossawa Tanner, Flight into Egypt, oil on canvas, circa 1910. Sold October 5, 2017 for $341,000.


American Art


Pavel Tchelitchew, Portrait of Robert Cluzan, pastels, 1930.
Sold June 14, 2018 for $32,500.


Wolf Kahn, Poisonous Yellow-Green, oil on canvas, 2001.
Sold June 14, 2018 for $31,250.





Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Serenade for String Orchestra in C Major, Autograph Musical Quotation dated & signed, London, 21 March 1888. Sold November 7, 2017 for $27,500.


Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, Richmond, February 1781. Sold March 22, 2018 for $35,000.



19th & 20th Century Literature


Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming, The Centenary Edition of the Works of Ian Fleming, one of 26 lettered sets, 18 volumes, London, 2008. Sold November 14, 2017 for $30,000.


Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, Three Stories & Ten Poems, limited first edition, Paris, 1923. Sold May 15, 2018, for $23,750.


Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books


Aegidius Romanus

Aegidius Romanus, Lo libre del regiment dels princeps, first edition in Catalan, Barcelona, 1480.
Sold October 17, 2017 for $50,000.


Sir Philip Sidney

Sir Philip Sidney, The Defence of Poesie, unauthorized first edition, London, 1595. Sold March 8, 2018 for $149,000, a record for the work.


Luis de Lucena

Luis de Lucena, Arte de Ajedres, first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97.
Sold March 8, 2018 for $68.750, a record for the work.


Fine Illustrated Books & Graphics



Gustav Klimt, Das Werk von Gustav Klimt, with 49 plates, Vienna & Leipzig, 1918.
Sold April 26, 2018 for $106,250.


Contemporary Art


Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled: Four Prints, complete set of four color screenprints, 1983-2001.
Sold November 16, 2017 for $200,000.


Victor Vasarely

Victor Vasarely, Majus II, polystyrene, 1974. Sold May 22, 2018 for $13,750.


Illustration Art


Manhattan Mary

William Oden Waller (studio), Manhattan Mary, gouache and graphite, 1927. Sold December 14, 2017 for $77,500.


Nancy Drew

Russell H. Tandy, The Secret in the Old Attic, watercolor, ink and gouache, for Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #21, by Carolyn Keene, 1944. Sold June 5, 2018 for $35,000, a record for the artist.


Maps & Atlases


Richard Hakluyt, Novus Orbis, first printed use of “Virginia” on a map, Paris, 1587.
Sold December 5, 2017 for $80,000, a record for the work.



John James Audubon, Fish Hawk, Plate 81, hand-colored aquatint and engraved plate from Birds of America, London, 1830.
Sold June 7, 2018 for $68,750.


Photographs & Photobooks


Walker Evans

Walker Evans, River Rouge Plant, Detroit, Michigan (with Ford signage on freight car), silver print, 1947. Sold April 19, 2018 for $57,500. This is the only known print of this image; a negative is held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Red River Raft

Robert B. Talfor, Photographic Views of Red River Raft, album with 113 hand-colored photographs, 1873.
Sold February 15, 2018 for $93,750. This is one of three known extant copies of the book.


Lewis W. Hine, Powerhouse Mechanic, silver print,
circa 1921. Sold February 15, 2018 for $81,250.



Saul Leiter, Waiter, Paris, chromogenic print, 1959, printed 1990s. Sold October 19, 2017 for $25,000, a record for the work.


Printed & Manuscript African Americana



Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans and abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold March 29, 2018 for $47,500.



Frederick Douglass, Signed cabinet card, by George Kendall Warren, Boston, circa 1879. Sold March 29, 2018 for $30,000, an auction record for a signed photograph of Douglass.


Printed & Manuscript Americana


Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, Parts I & II, first separate edition, Philadelphia, 1777.
Sold April 12, 2018 for $50,000.


missionary archive

Missionary archive of Samuel W. and Gideon H. Pond, Minnesota, 1833-93.
Sold September 28, 2017 for $112,500.


Prints & Drawings



Pablo Picasso, Françoise sur fond gris, lithograph, 1950.
Sold September 19, 2017 for $125,000.


Edward Hopper, The Lonely House, etching, 1923.
Sold November 2, 2017 for $317,000, a record for a print by the artist.


Edward Hopper, House by a River, etching, 1919. Sold March 13, 2018 for $100,000.


Henri Matisse, Grand Masque, aquatint, inscribed to model Nadia Sednaoui, 1948. Sold May 8, 2018 for $87,500, a record for the work.


Vintage Posters


Man Ray, [London Transport] – Keeps London Going, 1938. Sold May 3, 2018 for $149,000, a record for the work.


Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, Normandie / Maiden Voyage, 1935. Sold October 26, 2017 for $20,000.


Special Collections


Highlights from the Gail Chisholm Collection


Erik Nitsche, General Dynamics / Hydrodynamics, 1955.
Sold March 1, 2018 for $5,500, a record for the work.


Georges Dorival, Vers le Mont – Blanc, group of three posters, 1928. From the Collection of Gail Chisholm. Sold March 1, 2018 for $13,750.


Selections from the Estate of Stanley Simon


Isaac Asimov, Foundation trilogy, first editions, each signed, New York, 1951-53. From the Estate of Stanley Simon.
Sold May 15, 2018 for $9,750, a record for the work.


Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, first edition, signed, New York, 1962. From the Estate of Stanley Simon. Sold May 15, 2018 for $10,400, a record for the work.


Revolutionary & Presidential Americana from the Collection of William Wheeler III


Charles Coatesworth Pinckney, Autograph Letter Signed, sending condolences after Washington’s death, Harper’s Ferry, 1799. Sold June 21, 2018 for $16,250.


We are currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.