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Articles on this Page
- 10/18/12--10:06: _Grounded in Life
- 10/24/12--15:36: _Top Lots: Art, Pres...
- 11/02/12--16:45: _Previews Open Satur...
- 11/05/12--12:55: _One Week: Two Auctions
- 11/06/12--08:02: _The Artist's Doctor
- 11/08/12--09:38: _Manhattan in the Dark
- 11/14/12--11:05: _Three Christmas Car...
- 11/27/12--15:31: _A Postcard from Pic...
- 12/07/12--12:04: _Send Us Your Monste...
- 12/10/12--12:43: _Happy Hanukkah!
- 12/13/12--13:52: _The Specialist's No...
- 12/17/12--08:54: _We Have a Winner!
- 12/26/12--11:57: _Top Lots: Fall 2012...
- 01/18/13--14:10: _Drawings Abound at ...
- 01/24/13--11:18: _Likely J.M.W. Turne...
- 01/28/13--12:46: _The Armory Show at ...
- 02/01/13--15:27: _Last Week's Top Lot...
- 02/05/13--09:30: _Early Photographs o...
- 02/08/13--12:07: _Blues for Smoke at ...
- 02/11/13--11:22: _Distortion: André K...
- 10/18/12--10:06: Grounded in Life
- 10/24/12--15:36: Top Lots: Art, Press & Illustrated Books
- 11/02/12--16:45: Previews Open Saturday, November 3
- 11/05/12--12:55: One Week: Two Auctions
- 11/06/12--08:02: The Artist's Doctor
- 11/08/12--09:38: Manhattan in the Dark
- 11/14/12--11:05: Three Christmas Cards From Artists
- 11/27/12--15:31: A Postcard from Picasso
- 12/07/12--12:04: Send Us Your Monster & Maiden Photo!
- 12/10/12--12:43: Happy Hanukkah!
- 12/13/12--13:52: The Specialist's Notes on Monsters & Maidens
- 12/17/12--08:54: We Have a Winner!
- 12/26/12--11:57: Top Lots: Fall 2012 Book Auctions
- 01/18/13--14:10: Drawings Abound at Swann in the Next Two Weeks
- 01/28/13--12:46: The Armory Show at 100: America’s Introduction to Modern Art
- 02/01/13--15:27: Last Week's Top Lots: 20th Century Illustration
- 02/05/13--09:30: Early Photographs of Asia from the Estate of Fong Chow
- 02/08/13--12:07: Blues for Smoke at the Whitney
- 02/11/13--11:22: Distortion: André Kertész's French Period
Figurative artists Eldzier Cortor, Hughie Lee-Smith and Charles White stayed true to their roots in social realism as their work evolved in the post-war decades. Unlike contemporaries Charles Alston, Norman Lewis and Hale Woodruff, these three resisted the trend towards abstraction, or “going modern” as Woodruff called it. Their shared experiences in the Chicago Renaissance of the early 1940s, the WPA and the rapid growth of urban culture helped shape their artistic identities.
|Charles White's Songs of Lifeis an exquisite example of his |
large pen and ink drawings from the 1950s
|Hughie Lee-Smith's Boy with Flute is a significant painting in the |
artist's oeuvre, a mid-career reinterpretation of one of his
best known subjects--the solitary flute player against a
|Eldzier Cortor's Classical Composition No. 4 is one of the |
largest known examples of his long study of the beauty of
the African-American woman
All three artists demonstrate consistency in their approach and a trust in the figure as a vehicle of expression, both formally and intellectually. Their unique voices are now regarded as important contributions to 20th Century American Art. Yet these artists don’t fall neatly into the categories of American, modern and contemporary art--a testament to the richness and longevity of their art, and an unwillingness to be defined by convention.
Swann's October 11 sale of Art, Press & Illustrated books resulted in strong prices from examples of fine art press books to pop art portfolios. Notably, Gustav Klimt's first and only monograph, Das Werk von Gustav Klimt, brought a record $144,000, more than three times the high estimate. The portfolio contains 50 collotype plates in a case designed by Julius Dratva.
|Gustav Klimt, Das Werk von Gustav Klimt, Einleitende Worte: Hermann Bahr, Peter Altenberg, |
50 plates in original case designed by Julius Dratva, Vienna and Leipzig, 1918.
Sold October 11, 2012 for an auction record of $144,000.
|Andy Warhol, 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, 18 hand-colored lithographs, New York, 1954. |
Sold October 11, 2012 for $52,800.
|Frank Lloyd Wright, Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe, two portfolios, Berline, 1910. |
Sold October 11, 2012 for $22,800.
Swann is pleased to announce that power is back in the Flatiron district, and we will be open for previews on Saturday, November 3, from noon to five pm.
Swann Galleries is pleased to be back open and to offer two outstanding auctions in one week. Tomorrow we will conduct a sale of Old Master Through Modern Prints, which was originally scheduled for October 31. More than 530 works--including a collection of prints, drawings and livres d'artise by Salvador Dali--are on view today until 6 PM, and tomorrow from 10 AM to noon.
Today's auction of Old Master Through Modern Prints features an impression of Vincent van Gogh's only etching, titled Homme à la Pipe: Portrait du Docteur Gachet. Following his clash with Gauguin in Arles in December 1888, during which van Gogh cut off a part of his own ear, and a subsequent year in an asylum, the artist moved to Auvers-sur-Oise to be cared for by Dr. Paul Gachet. A physician as well as an Impressionist art collector and amateur painter/printmaker, Gachet had treated Camille Pissarro and was friends with Manet, Renoir and Cézanne. In 1873, at Auvers-sur-Oise, Gachet had urged Cézanne to make his first etchings.
Soon after the start of his treatment in 1890, at Gachet's prompting, van Gogh etched this portrait of the doctor, working on a small etching press that Gachet had installed in his house. With renewed vigor, van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo of plans he had to make additional etchings: "I hope very much to do a few etchings on Southern [French] subjects, say six, since I can print them without expense at Dr. Gachet's, who is willing to pull them for nothing, if I make them."
|Vincent van Gogh, Homme à la Pipe: Portrait du Docteur Gachet, etching, 1890. |
Estimate $60,000 to $90,000. At auction November 6, 2012.
The portrait shows the doctor with a melancholic expression similar to the two oil portraits van Gogh made of him in June 1890 (one now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris; the other in a private collection). He remarked, in a letter to Theo, "I've done the portrait of M. Gachet with a melancholy expression, which might well seem like a grimace to those who see it . . . Sad but gentle, yet clear and intelligent, that is how many portraits ought to be done . . . There are modern heads that may be looked at for a long time, and that may perhaps be looked back on with longing a hundred years later." On first seeing his brother's etched portrait of Gachet, Theo called it "a true painter's etching. No refinement in the execution, but a drawing on metal."
Sadly, van Gogh never escaped the melancholy and mental illness that plagued him during this time. Only two months after completing the etching, on July 27, 1890, aged 37, he shot himself in the chest with a revolver. He remained alive for 29 hours after the incident and died with his beloved brother Theo at his side, to whom he uttered his final words: "The sadness will last forever."
Last week, when millions of people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut lost electricity due to Hurricane Sandy, we were reminded of earlier times, when the lights of New York weren't quite as bright as they are today. Those outside of Manhattan saw a different skyline in the evenings, and thousands of tri-state area residents were compelled to document their storm experiences photographically. #Sandy was used more than any other tag in Instagram's history as amateur photographers documented their experiences on a local scale, while professional photographers sought out iconic views of the city.
|Frank Soltesz, TWA / Constellation / Sky Coach, circa 1952. |
Estimate $3,000 to $4,000.
The holiday season seems to have surprised everyone this year with its early arrival, but there is still time to get your Christmas cards in order. Need inspiration? Look no further than Swann's American Art / Contemporary Art sale, which features three very different Christmas greetings from well-known artists.
|Roy Lichtenstein, Seascape, color screenprint, folded card, circa 1965. |
Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.
|Damien Hirst, Christmas Greetings from Momart and Damien Hirst: Ho, Ho, Ho!, |
screenprint encapsulated in acrylic, in original blue box, 1997. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.
|Andrew Wyeth, The Open Window, watercolor on card stock. Estimate $25,000 to $35,000.|
|On the verso of Wyeth's card, a painting of Santa Claus |
by Andrew Wyeth's wife Betsy.
Swann's upcoming Autographs auction features numerous signatures from founding fathers, Presidents, scientists, inventors, writers and musicians. Among the material in the sale related to artists is a timely postcard for the holiday season, sent by Pablo Picasso to Henri Defossé, conductor of the orchestra performing for the Ballets Russes, with New Year's greetings.
|Postcard from Pablo Picasso to Henri Defossé, 2 December 1919. Estimate $3,000 to $4,000.|
The artist signed the card "Olga et Picasso" and doodled a small black-and-white drawing of a holiday feast complete with a roasted bird, wine and bananas. He addressed the card to what was presumably Defossé's work address at the time: the famous Coliseum Theatre in London.
|We want to see you posed like this!|
|El Vampiro, Mexico, 1957. Estimate $800 to $1,200.|
|H.R. Hopps's Destroy This Mad Brute / Enlist, circa 1917. Estimate $12,000 to $18,000.|
This wartime poster may have been the inspiration for King Kong.
|Tarzan / L'Homme Singe, 1932. Estimate $400 to $600.|
|Africa Excitation, 1970. Estimate $800 to $1,200.|
We received some wonderful submissions to our Monsters & Maidens Photo Contest--and we are pleased to announce that our celebrity judge, Judah Friedlander, has chosen a winner! Morgane Delmas of Paris, France, submitted a terrific version of Le Colosse de New York, which our judge said looked the most like a real poster. Indeed, it was based on one of the posters in tomorrow's auction.
A close runner up was Alan Rowe Kelly's collaboration with Bart Mastronardi, It Came from Indie Horror.
A round up of our other favorites--including submissions by Swann friends and family--are below. Thank you to everyone who sent us their images!
The last three months of 2012 saw several stellar book auctions at Swann. On October 11, a sale of Art, Press & Illustrated Books resulted in a record price for Gustav Klimt's only monograph, Das Werk von Gustav Klimt. Two weeks later, the October 23 auction of Aldine Imprints & Early Printed Books from the Library of Kenneth Rapoport became Swann's highest-grossing early printed books sale to date. The top lot, an Aldine edition of Claudius Galenus's Librorum pars prima[-quinta], Venice, 1525, brought $48,000.
|Claudius Galenus, Librorum pars prima[-quinta], first edition in the original Greek, Venice, 1525.|
|Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons, inscribed first edition, 1918.|
|Pablo Picasso, Autograph Postcard Signed "Olga et Picasso," Paris, 2 December 1919.|
|John Gould & Richard Bowdler Sharpe, Birds of New Guinea and the Adjacent Papuan Islands, |
vols 2-5, first edition, London, 1875-88.
The 2013 Swann auction schedule starts earlier than usual this year, and two auctions of drawings and original art have us abuzz with previews and sales in January.
|Michael Hague, The Boy and the Velveteen Rabbit, watercolor illustration, 1983. Estimate $1,500 to $2,500.|
|Edward Sorel, Obama as Gulliver, pen, ink and watercolor, published |
in Vanity Fair September 2010. Estimate $1,500 to $2,000.
|Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Mars and Venus, brush and ink, wash and pencil.|
Estimate $15,000 to $20,000.
|François Boucher, Two Satyrs, chalk drawing, circa 1740s. |
Estimate $12,000 to $18,000.
The watercolor, From Ehrenbreitstein, is quite likely an original work by Turner himself, according to David Hill, Harewood Professor of Fine Art at the University of Leeds and a scholar of Turner. Professor Hill explained that the style, handling, size and quality of detail all seem to indicate that the work is an untraced original—and, potentially, a significant discovery.
Turner would have painted this work on the spot during his tour of the Rhine in 1817. It is one of a series of 50 that the artist sold to his Yorkshire patron Walter Fawkes of Farnley Hall. The group was dispersed in various sales from Farnley after 1890 and examples are now in collections around the world.
The current presale estimate is $1,000 to $1,500.
|The original poster for the 1913 Armory Show.|
|Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase.|
Set of 48 proof plates of illustrations from Charlotte’s Web, illustrations by Garth Williams, |
watercolored by Rosemary Wells for the 50th Anniversary edition, signed by Wells, New York, 2002.
|Charles M Schulz, Peanuts, original three-tiered comic strip, 1953. |
Sold January 24, 2013 for $22,800.
|Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are, first edition, |
signed & inscribed with a drawing, New York, 1963.
Swann Galleries' February 26 auction of Fine Photographs features several early photographic albums filled with images of Asia that come from the Estate of Fong Chow.
Chow (1923-2012) was a renowned ceramicist whoearned a Master's Degree in Ceramics from Alfred University in New York. He was named chief designer for Glidden Pottery, the American equivalent of stoneware known as Cizhou ware in China. Soon after, he was hired as a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he worked for 25 years.
During his tenure, Chow was responsible for the installation of Chinese ceramics and two Chinese Buddhist sculpture galleries. He acquired for the museum important Chinese and Japanese paintings, Korean ceramics and Indian sculptures.
He was also a photographer and collector of photographs. Among the items from his estate are an important travel album formerly belonging to William Williams containing a total of 85 photographs of Japan, China, India and Egypt by Felice Beato and others, 1870s; an album with more than 95 photographs of Japan, Hong Kong, Gibraltar, Malta, Italy and Pt. Said, including panoramas, mid 1870s; and a mini-collection of 78 rare carte-de-visite portraits in en plein air or studio settings by various photographers and subjects including street tradesmen, religious figures, women and mandarin officials in locations throughout China, including Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Soochow, 1860s-1870s.
|Beauford Delaney's Portrait of a Young Musician, |
part of the Blues for Smoke exhibition.
|William T. Williams's Up Balls, acrylic on canvas, 1971. |
Estimate $75,000 to $100,000. At auction February 14.
|Romare Bearden, Homage to Louie and Duke, offset color lithograph, circa 1975. |
Estimate $3,000 to $5,000. At auction February 14.
Hungarian-born photographer André Kertesz’s relocation to Paris in 1925 exposed him to a community of avant-garde painters and photographers intent on infusing modernism’s new visual vocabulary into a range of artworks.
Kertész had already experimented with unusual patterns and optical illusions created by various surfaces, such as water and glass spheres. His series of human distortions were a highly charged, radical interpretation of the female figure, which appears twisted and elongated due to its visual manipulation by a carnival-like mirror.
The series was commissioned by French humor magazine La Sourire, and reflected the unusual formal investigations associated with the surrealist idiom.
Interestingly, Kertész’s original name for this suite of images was The Grotesques, alluding to the uncanny results: bodies depicted in ways beyond immediate recognition, and weirdly distended or bulbous. Lot 33 in Swann's upcoming auction of Fine Photographs is an elegant study that renders the model in a more familiar fashion, emphasizing the attentuated form of the modern woman.