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Swann Galleries' February 14 auction to include works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Elizabeth Catlett, from a complete set of I Am the Black Woman, 14 linoleum cuts, 1946-47, printed 1989. Estimate: $75,000 to $100,000.
NEW YORK, NY.- Among the significant works of art in Swann Galleries’ upcoming auction of African-American Fine Art on February 14 are approximately 20 drawings, paintings and sculptures from the John Axelrod Collection of 100 works purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), in 2011. These are being auctioned for the benefit of the Museum’s collection.

Paintings from the Axelrod Collection in the auction are Norman Lewis’s Meeting Place, oil on canvas, 1941, the first of Lewis’s WPA-era oil paintings to come to auction and an excellent example of his work in social realism; an oil on canvas Self-Portrait by Beauford Delaney, painted in 1964, the height of the artist’s Paris period; Palmer Hayden’s New York, South Ferry, oil on canvas, circa 1940; and Laura Wheeler Waring’s Girl in Red Dress, oil on board, circa 1935, the first portrait by this Pennsylvania artist to come to auction.

The auction also features Charles White’s Trumpet Player, charcoal and gouache drawing on board, 1959–1960, in which he captures a jazz musician in a quiet moment of repose; and Charles Alston’s Shade Chadman, gouache on paper, one of few known works from Alston’s travels through the South funded by his Rosenwald Foundation scholarship in 1940 and 1941.

Notable sculptures include Richmond Barthé’s Feral Benga, cast bronze, modeled in 1935, cast 1986, a wonderful example of the culmination of Barthé’s study of the figure in sculpture, anatomy and dance in the 1930s and his pioneering realization of an ideal male nude.

Of the 100 works in the Axelrod Collection purchased by the MFA, 67 were accessioned into the Museum’s collection (six of these works are currently on view in the Art of the Americas Wing). The remaining 33 works were not accessioned—these objects were either duplicative with the Museum’s collection or the curatorial team felt it unlikely that they would be displayed to their full advantage. From these are the being sold at Swann. With large collections, it is not uncommon for museums to retain select works for their collection while identifying others for sale to benefit the museum’s collection.

Featured material in the February 14 auction from other consigners includes works by Edward Bannister, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Roy De Carava, Barkley L. Hendricks, Jacob Lawrence, Hughie Lee-Smith and Kara Walker.




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