Harlem African-American Fine Art masters takes center stage at Swann Auction Galleries on October 18, 2012. The sale features an extraordinary selection of museum-quality paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Harlem masters Charles White, Romare Bearden and other mportant 19th and 20th century artists. Highlights include:
- Robert Duncanson’s Young America (estimate: $50,000 – $75,000); the earliest painting in the sale and a very scarce figurative work from the beginning of the artist’s career. This unusual depiction of a heroic young man raising both a sword and the American flag was possibly a commission by the subject’s parents before the boy was sent off to fight in the Mexican-American
- A collection of four small but impressive works by Henry O. Tanner, oil studies for Biblical paintings by the artist (estimate range: $20,000 – $90,000). In addition, the collection includes a fine drawing study in a conte crayon and charcoal for The Head of Christ (estimate: $30,000 – $50,000).
- For the first time, Swann will offer two Eldzier Cortor (pictured) paintings from important periods for the artist. Classical Composition No. 4, (estimate $200,000 – $250,000), a large, impressive oil, is the day’s top lot (pictured). Cortor is best known for elegant, elongated depictions of women that show the influences of his study of African sculpture, 19th-century French Painting and his travels to the Sea Islands and the West Indies.
- Harlem master Charles White’s Songs of Life (estimate: $150,000 – $200,000) is a tour de force in pen and ink, and a recently discovered large and important drawing. White used this drawing in his application for his Whitney Fellowship in 1954 and it has not been exhibited since.
- The large and evocative Boy with Flute by Hughie Lee Smith; a significant work from the mid-1960s that features the recurring image of a solitary boy with a wind instrument found in each of the artist’s major periods (estimate: $100,000 – $150,000)
Swann Auction Galleries is the only major auction house to conduct regular sales of African-American Fine Art, frequently setting benchmarks for works by important and lesser-known artists.
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