NEW YORK—On Sept. 6 auctioneer Swann Galleries, New York, announced the launch of a department devoted to African-American fine art. Nigel Freeman, Swann’s associate director of prints and drawings, will head the new division. Annual auctions—including prints, drawings, paintings and collages—will be held each February to coincide with Black History Month.
Noting the sales of four Romare Bearden collages for more than $100,000 each in the last year and a half, Swann reported several auction records for African-American artists such as Lois Mailou Jones ($27,600), Dox Thrash ($18,400) and Hale Woodruff ($41,400). “This strong performance, and subsequent interest in consignments to forthcoming auctions, inspired the creation of the new department,” Swann stated in a release.
Freeman points to “a growing secondary market for works by African-American artists.” Noting that “this segment of the fine art market is young,” he said Swann will “establish market prices and contribute to scholarship in the field.” The gallery’s first auction will feature pieces by Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White and Woodruff. —E.K.