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Collectors Compete for American Paintings at Swann Auction Galleries
Willem de Kooning’s The Devil at the Keyboard, lithograph with hand coloring in watercolor and gouache, 1976, $40,800.

NEW YORK, NY.- Active bidding by private collectors resulted in a strong auction of American Art and Contemporary Art at Swann Galleries on June 8.

The sale’s top lots, offered in the Contemporary Art section, were Louise Nevelson’s Maquette for Monumental Sculpture II, welded black steel, 1977, which sold for $78,000*, and Willem de Kooning’s The Devil at the Keyboard, lithograph with hand coloring in watercolor and gouache, 1976, $40,800.

Highlights of the American Art section included Landscape, oil on canvas, 1883, by African-American artist Edward Mitchell Bannister, $21,600; Childe Hassam’sLandscape with a Bridge, watercolor, $28,800; and Guy Carlton Wiggins’s Winter at the Plaza, oil on canvas board, circa 1950s, $31,200.

Among choice drawings by Paul Cadmus was Standing Nude, color pastel, $26,400. Topping a selection of works by Jared French was a watercolor Self Portrait, quite possibly created during French’s stay with Cadmus in Mallorca in the 1930s, $14,400.

Other American drawings of note were Arshile Gorky’s circa 1930s pencil sketches Untitled (Studio Still Life), $10,200, and Still Life with Table and Pitcher, $13,200; and Will Barnet’s Woman on Stairs, gouache and pencil, 1987, $18,000.

Works by artists known for their illustrations included Rockwell Kent’s Landscape, pen and ink and wash with white gouache heightening, 1943, $6,240; a watercolor and pastel Design for Hansi by Ludwig Bemelmans, best known as the author and artist behind the Madeline children’s book series, $10,200; and a watercolor and ink costume design by Edward Gorey for the character Jonathan Harker in the 1977 stage production of Dracula, $7,800. The drawing was formerly in the collection of Alan Coates, who played the role of Harker, and Gorey won a Tony Award for the costume designs he created for the show.

Rounding out the first session were Ben Shahn’s Landscape with River and Trees, watercolor, circa 1930, $6,720; Hans Hofmann’s Untitled abstract gouache on paper, $7,200; $10,200; and Dong Moy Chu Kingman’s 128th and Fulton, watercolor, 1964, $7,200.

Diverse highlights of the Contemporary Art section included two late 1950s drawings of Gold Shoes by Andy Warhol, brush and black ink and white gouache and gold leaf, $14,400 each; and the Warhol prints Flowers, offset color lithograph, 1964, $19,200; Muhammad Ali, color screenprint, 1978, a record $12,000; and After the Party, color screenprint, 1979, $13,800.

Other notable prints were Robert Rauschenberg’s Core, color screenprint, 1965, $9,000; and a run of four pieces by Shepard Fairey for the Obama for Americacampaign, 2008, that exceeded expectations and sold for between $2,160 and $5,520 each.

Swann Galleries | American Art and Contemporary Art | Willem de Kooning |

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