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Modigliani Drawing Leads Swann’s $1.5M Print Sale

A ca. 1915 pencil drawing of poet and critic Beatrice Hastings (Emily Alice Haigh, 1879–1943) by Amedeo Modigliani was the top lot in Swann Galleries’ auction of 19th- and 20th-century prints and drawings on March 9, selling for $84,000 against an estimate of $30,000/50,000.

NEW YORK—A ca. 1915 pencil drawing of poet and critic Beatrice Hastings (Emily Alice Haigh, 1879–1943) by Amedeo Modigliani was the top lot in Swann Galleries’ auction of 19th- and 20th-century prints and drawings on March 9, selling for $84,000 against an estimate of $30,000/50,000. The drawing of Hastings, with whom the artist had a tumultuous on-and-off relationship, had been part of the Joseph L. Shulman Collection, which was exhibited in 1975 at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn.

In total, 442, or 79 percent, of the 558 lots offered were sold, yielding a total of $1.5million, just below the estimate of $1.56million/2.4million. Thomas Hart Benton, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso were each represented by a number of pieces in the sale.

In addition to the Modigliani, which sold to a dealer, other top lots included a 1942 trial proof of Femme au fauteuil II: Dora Maar, 1939, an aquatint and drypoint print of Dora Maar by Picasso, which sold for $26,400 (estimate: $20,000/30,000). Two color lithographs from Chagall’s Daphnis et Chloé, 1961—Le Jugement de Chloe and Découverte de Chloé par Daphnis—sold for $26,400 (estimate: $30,000/50,000) and $22,800 (estimate: $18,000/22,000), respectively. An artist’s proof of Diurnes: Femme assise en Pyjama de Plage II, 1961, a linocut by Picasso, sold for $24,000 (estimate: $25,000/35,000); L’Oiseau et son ombre II, 1961, a color aquatint and etching by Georges Braque, sold for $22,800 (estimate: $15,000/20,000); and Edouard Vuillard’s color lithograph La cuisinière, 1899, sold for $22,800 (estimate: $15,000/20,000).

A number of lots sold for considerably more than their estimates. Willi Bau­meister’s color screenprint Allegro, 1954, brought $9,500 on an estimate of $5,000/8,000, and Camille Pissarro’s etching and drypoint Cours-la-Reine, 1884, sold for $7,500 against an estimate of $2,500/3,500. Some lots that carried higher estimates, however, found no takers, including a group of nine ca. 1920 watercolor and gouache drawings by Norbertine von Bresslern-Roth (estimate: $40,000/60,000) and Max Ernst’s pastel and collage Étude pour une eclipse, 1951 (estimate: $20,000/30,000).

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