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Swann Galleries Announces Auction of Old Master through Modern Prints Sale
Albrecht Durer, St. John Devouring the Book, woodcut, 1498. Estimate: $3,000 to $5,000. Photo: Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

NEW YORK, NY.- On Thursday, April 28 Swann Galleries will auction a large and varied assortment of Old Master Through Modern Prints that offers 15th-century engravings by Dürer through Modern works like Marc Chagall’s Bible portfolio.

The sale opens with a section of Old Master prints, which, as usual, features many excellent examples by Rembrandt van Rijn. These include the last lifetime state of his etching The Raising of Lazarus: The Larger Plate, circa 1632 (estimate: $30,000 to $50,000); the very scarce etching, Self Portrait Frowning: Bust, which measures less than three inches on each side, 1630 ($30,000 to $50,000); and The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, etching, engraving and drypoint, 1634 ($20,000 to $30,000).

Other highlights among the 150 Old Master prints are Andrea Mantegna’s engraving Bacchanal with Silenus, circa 1475-80 ($7,000 to $10,000); desirable engravings by Albrecht Dürer, among them The Prodigal Son, circa 1496 ($5,000 to $8,000); a number of Giovanni B. Piranesi’s etched city views and fantasies; and Il Canaletto’s etching Le Porte del Dolo, circa 1740 ($10,000 to $15,000).

Among 19th-century highlights are Claude Monet and George W. Thornley’s atmospheric lithograph L’Abbaye dans la brume, printed in light blue on Chine appliqué, circa 1892 ($15,000 to $20,000); James Ensor’s La Vengeance de Hop-Frog, etching on imitation Japan paper, 1898 ($10,000 to $15,000); and Mary Cassatt’s extremely scarce drypoint, The Velvet Sleeve, circa 1904 ($10,000 to $15,000).

A run of works by James A.M. Whistler includes a second state (of two) impression of Nocturne, lithograph on cream appliqué, 1878, which is likely a proof aside from the edition of 100 printed on light blue paper ($15,000 to $20,000); an early state of The Beggars, etching and drypoint printed in dark brown, 1879-80 ($30,000 to $50,000); and The Riva, No. 2, etching, 1880 ($10,000 to $15,000).

Notable modern American prints include Gustave Baumann’s color woodcuts, Hillside Woods, 1917 and The Bishop’s Apricot, circa 1930 ($7,000 to $10,000 each); Diego Rivera’s Desnudo sentado con brazos levantados (Frida Kahlo), lithograph, 1930 ($8,000 to $12,000); Samuel Margolies’s Men of Steel, drypoint, circa 1940 ($8,000 to $10,000); and Benton M. Spruance’s Riders of the Apocalypse, lithograph, 1943 ($20,000 to $30,000).

The final section of modern European prints contains such desirable works as a complete copy of Marc Chagall’s Bible portfolio, 1931-39, which is one of 275 numbered copies, signed in ink, with 105 etchings completed by the artist after his travels to Jerusalem and the Holy Land ($100,000 to $150,000). Swann set an auction record of $108,000 for this portfolio in the November 2009 Art, Press & Illustrated Books auction.

There are also two different editions of Salvador Dali’s 1967 Biblia Sacra, one from the Lexus edition of 1,499 Arabic numbered copies ($15,000 to $20,000), the other from the Magni Lexus edition of 199 Roman numeral copies ($20,000 to $30,000); as well as one of 75 numbered copies of Dali’s Flora Dalinea portfolio with 10 color drypoints with photolithograph on Japan nacré paper, 1967-69 ($40,000 to $60,000). Other Dali portfolios in the sale include Le Divine Comédie, Poèmes Secrets and Faust.

Also of note is the scarce portfolio Das Graphische Werk von Egon Schiele, with two lithographs, five drypoints and one etching, 1914-18, one of 80 numbered copies ($50,000 to $75,000).

Works by Pablo Picasso include Homme dévoilant une Femme, drypoint, 1931 ($15,000 to $20,000); the large lithograph, Jeunesse, 1950 ($35,000 to $50,000); a color aquatint after Le Petit Arlequin aux Fleurs, circa 1930 and a color collotype after Portrait de Mlle. Dora Maar, circa 1960 ($15,000 to $20,000 each).

Other featured European prints are Georges Braque’s Composition (Nature morte aux verres), etching, 1912 ($20,000 to $30,000); Emil Nolde’s Jestri, woodcut, 1917; a color aquatint after Marcel Duchamp’s Mariée, on Arches, 1934 ($10,000 to $15,000); Maurits C. Escher’s scarce woodcut, Sky and Water I, on Japan paper, 1938 ($12,000 to $18,000); Henri Matisse’s rare lithograph, Danseuse au Miroir, 1927 ($12,000 to $18,000); and Giorgio Morandi’s very scarce etching, Paesaggio, circa 1930 ($12,000 to $18,000).

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28.

The works of art will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries on Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, April 25 through Wednesday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to noon.

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