NEW YORK—The Feb. 16 auction of African American art at Swann Galleries had its share of highs and lows. On the upside, a buyer paid $204,000 for Charles White’s charcoal on paper, J’Accuse! No. 10 (Negro Women), 1966, far higher than the $150,000/200,000 estimate.
On the other hand, a third of the lots in this auction were bought in, including a suite of four color screenprints by David Hammons and Bruce Talamon that had an estimate of $50,000/75,000.
Overall, the sale earned $1.66 million, just inside the presale estimate of $1.6 million/2.3 million, and 110, or 66 percent, of the 163 lots found buyers.
Among the sale’s highlights, strong prices were achieved for works, including Kara Walker’s suite of offset lithographs and screenprints, “Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War,” 2005, which sold for $120,000, compared with an estimate of $75,000/100,000; William T. Williams’s acrylic on canvas, Eastern Star, 1971, which sold for $120,000, compared with an estimate of $75,000/100,000; and Samuel Countee’s oil, My Guitar, 1936, which realized $102,000, compared with an estimate of $35,000/50,000.
Norman Lewis’s painting Birds, 1950, sold for $108,000, compared with an estimate of $30,000/50,000, while Robert Duncanson’s oil titled Winter Landscape, 1860, sold for $84,000 on an estimate of $75,000/100,000. A painting by Alma Thomas, March on Washington, 1964, sold for $72,000, compared with an estimate of $30,000/50,000.
Other lots that surpassed their estimates were Ellis Wilson’s oil on masonite, En Route, 1954, which realized $45,600, on an estimate of $20,000/30,000; Loïs Mailou Jones’s painting titled Rue Geoffroy St. Hillaire, Paris, 1948, which sold for $33,600, compared with an estimate of $15,000/25,000; and Elizabeth Catlett’s color linoleum cut, Sharecropper, ca. 1952, which sold for $31,200, compared with an estimate of $15,000/25,000.