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Important Whistler and Old Master Prints at Swann Galleries' Three-Part Print Auction
Whistler's Nocturne.

NEW YORK, NY.- On October 27 and 28 Swann Galleries will conduct a three-part print auction featuring material that is truly museum worthy. The sale begins on Wednesday, October 27 with more than 150 lots devoted to Whistler and His Influence, which offers rare and important etchings, drypoints and lithographs from the 1850s to the 1890s by the renowned printmaker. The auction continues the following day with Rare & Important Old Master Prints—one of the finest selections Swann has ever assembled—and a large catalogue of Old Master Through Modern Prints.

Several of the Whistler etchings in the sale have not appeared at auction in decades, and many display his highly prized butterfly signature. Among these are a very early impression of Nocturne, etching and drypoint on Japan paper, 1879-80, likely one of the first etchings Whistler made upon his arrival in Venice in September 1879 (estimate $80,000 to $120,000); a sublime impression of the second state of Old Westminster Bridge, etching and drypoint, 1859, Whistler's earliest etching of the Thames in London ($5,000 to $8,000); Fulham, etching, 1879, one of three etchings he made of the old Putney (or Fulham) toll bridge in 1879 before its destruction ($7,000 to $10,000); and Count Robert de Montesquiou, lithograph on Chine appliqué, 1894, from an edition of approximately only eight ($20,000 to $30,000).

Other Whistler highlights include two impressions of the 1859 etching The Lime-Burner, one on Japan paper ($7,000 to $10,000), the other on antique laid paper ($8,000 to $12,000); Venus, etching and drypoint on Japan paper, 1859 ($15,000 to $20,000); and Exeter Street, etching, circa 1886-88 ($8,000 to $12,000).

There is also an 1860s albumen photograph of Whistler's famous painting Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl, signed by the artist, titled and dedicated “To Jo the White Girl,” his model and mistress Joanna Hiffernan ($10,000 to $15,000).

Works by European and American artists working at the end of the 19th century who were influenced by Whistler include Paul César Helleu’s La Duchesse de Marlborough, a portrait of the American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt, drypoint, circa 1901 ($25,000 to $35,000); and Childe Hassam’s The Writing Desk, etching, 1915 ($20,000 to $30,000).

The evening before the auction, October 26th, Swann will host a lecture by Robert H. Getscher, Professor Emeritus, John Carroll University, and noted Whistler scholar, whose writings include the seminal exhibition catalogue The Stamp of Whistler (1977). The event is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. RSVP required.

Swann solidifies its position as the only auction house in America devoting separate auctions to Old Master Prints with an offering of 115 rare works by old masters valued at more than $1.3 million. Among the highlights are more than 30 examples by Albrecht Dürer including a sumptuous, lifetime impression of The Holy Family with the Butterfly, engraving, circa 1495 ($30,000 to $50,000); The Four Horsemen, woodcut, 1498 ($20,000 to $30,000); Adam and Eve, engraving, 1504 ($60,000 to $90,000); and The Small Passion, set of 35 woodcuts ($30,000 to $50,000).

A rich selection of more than 40 etchings by Rembrandt van Rijn features familiar religious themes such as The Descent from the Cross: Second Plate, 1633 ($40,000 to $60,000), Christ Before Pilate: Large Plate, 1635-36 ($60,000 to $90,000), and Christ Healing the Sick (The Hundred Guilder Print), circa 1643-49 ($40,000 to $60,000); numerous self portraits including two exceedingly scarce postage-stamp sized 1630 images, one of him laughing, ($15,000 to $20,000), the other open-mouthed ($25,000 to $35,000), and a bust portrait with plumed cap and lowered sabre, 1634 ($25,000 to $35,000); as well as other secular subjects, like a Beggar Seated on a Bank, 1630 ($20,000 to $30,000); The Rat Catcher, 1632 ($25,000 to $35,000); An Old Man Shading His Eyes with His Hand, 1638 ($30,000 to $50,000); and a prized horizontal landscape of The Omval, a region near Amsterdam, 1645 ($120,000 to $180,000).

Highlights among the 19th-century European prints offered in the sale are Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s La Danse à la Campagne, 2e planche, soft-ground etching, circa 1890 ($12,000 to $18,000); the very scarce Camille Pissarro lithograph Baigneuses (Le Jour), on blue Ingres d'Arches appliqué, circa 1895 ($10,000 to $15,000); and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s ever-popular La Troupe de Mademoiselle Eglantine, color lithograph, 1895-96 ($15,000 to $20,000).

A section of fine prints by American artists includes one of George Bellows’s classic boxing scenes, Preliminaries, lithograph depicting a prize fight at Madison Square Garden, 1916 ($25,000 to $35,000); Edward Hopper’s Night Shadows, etching, 1921 ($30,000 to $50,000); and Charles Sheeler’s Yachts, lithograph, 1924 ($10,000 to $15,000).

There are several fine prints by Picasso, such as Trois Acteurs from the Vollard Suite, drypoint, 1933 ($12,000 to $18,000); Sueño y Mentira de Franco, portfolio with two etchings with aquatint, 1937 ($10,000 to $15,000); Carmen, set of four extremely scarce aquatint proofs, 1949 ($10,000 to $15,000); La Fille au Chapeau, lithograph, 1959 ($15,000 to $20,000); and Têtes, color linoleum cut, 1963 ($20,000 to $30,000).

Other notable modern European prints are Henri Matisse’s Nu assis dans un Fauteuil au Décor fleuri, lithograph, 1924 ($15,000 to $20,000); Odalisque sur la Terrace, a color aquatint after Matisse, 1922-23 ($20,000 to $30,000); Joan Miró’s Le Géante, drypoint, 1938 ($15,000 to $20,000); Marc Chagall’s Le Jugement de Chloé, color lithograph, 1961, from Daphnis et Chloé ($25,000 to $35,000); a collection of 19 etchings and two etched copper plates from Salvador Dalí’s La Vida es Sueño, circa 1970, each an artist's proof, aside from the unrealized first edition of 250, being sold by one of the artist’s collaborators on the project ($40,000 to $60,000).

Also featured is a very rare complete set of Das Graphische Werk von Egon Schiele, portfolio with two lithographs, five drypoints and one etching, 1914-18, one of 80 numbered sets ($100,000 to $150,000). Other Expressionist highlights include Emil Nolde’s Hamburg, Kran., etching, aquatint, drypoint and punch work, 1910 ($10,000 to $15,000); Otto Mueller’s Mädchenakt vor dem Spiegel, lithograph, 1924 ($12,000 to $18,000); and Erich Heckel’s Der Mann (Selbstbildnis), woodcut, 1913, one of only several in the edition ($15,000 to $20,000).

The first session of the auction, Whistler and His Influence, will take place on Wednesday, October 27 at 2:30 p.m. Rare & Important Old Master Prints will be offered the following morning, Thursday, October 28 starting at 10:30 a.m. The sale continues with Old Master Through Modern Prints at 11:30 a.m. and then, after a lunch break, at 2:30 p.m.

The works of art will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries on Saturday, October 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, October 25 and Tuesday, October 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Wednesday, October 27, from 10 a.m. to noon.

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