NEW YORK—Swann Galleries realized $813,625 in a March 6 sale of prints from the collection of the late New York art dealer Sylvan Cole. Most of the works found buyers. Of 267 lots offered, 248, or 93 percent, were sold. The total fell within the house’s $619,000/954,000 estimate.
However, the top two lots both fell just short of their low estimates. John Marin’s etching-and-drypoint Woolworth Building (The Dance), 1913, and Stuart Davis’ 1931 lithograph Sixth Avenue El—both carrying estimates of $30,000/50,000—fetched $29,900 apiece. Meanwhile Arshile Gorky’s 1931 lithograph Painter and Model bettered its $12,000/18,000 estimate to sell for $27,600. Gorky’s Mannikin, a circa 1931 lithograph, also fared well, bringing $19,550 (estimate: $10,000/15,000). And Childe Hassam’s 1915 etching The Writing Desk went for $17,250, above its $15,000 high estimate. Noting the provenance of the artworks, Swann Galleries director of prints and drawings Todd Weyman said he expected strong prices, “but overall the total sale exceeded my expectations.”
Prices were stronger on the following day, when Swann offered a various owner sale of works on paper and 19th- and 20th-century prints and drawings that realized nearly $3 million and was 76 percent sold by lot.
Romare Bearden’s Untitled (Sermons: In That Number), collaged papers on cardstock, 1964, sold for $109,250, well past the estimate of $25,000/35,000. Similarly the artist’s Untitled (Melon Season), a circa 1967 collage, jumped to $103,500 against an estimate of $30,000/50,000. An 1895 lithograph by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Mademoiselle Marcel Lender, en buste, sold for $39,100 (estimate: $15,000/20,000).
“We see continued records and high prices for prints by the modern masters such as [Marc Chagall, [Joan] Miró and [Pablo] Picasso, and for unique works by African-American artists, including Romare Bearden and Hale Woodruff,” says Nigel Freeman, associate director of the prints and drawings department at Swann.