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Swann Galleries to offer strong selection of American and European Works
Man Ray, La Femme Portative, pen and ink on paper, 1937-74. Estimate $10,000 to $15,000. Photo: Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

NEW YORK, NY.- On Thursday, September 22, Swann Galleries will conduct an auction of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings. As always, the sale features an excellent selection of American and European works that span the two centuries.

The 19th century portion of the sale features more than 20 prints by James A.M. Whistler, with highlights including the etchings The Traghetto, No. 2, The Riva No. 2, and Upright Venice, all circa 1879-80, and all signed with the artist’s famous butterfly signature (estimates: $15,000 to $20,000 each for The Traghetto, No. 2 and The Riva No. 2, $30,000 to $50,000 for Upright Venice).

Also among important prints is a complete set of the deluxe edition of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s L’Album des Douze Lithographies Originales, one of 50 on Japan paper, 1904-1919 ($40,000 to $60,000). Other Impressionist prints of note include three collaborations with lithographer George W. Thornley, all printed on Chine appliqué, Edgar Degas’s Petite Danseuse à l’éventail, circa 1888 ($12,000 to $18,000); Claude Monet’s Fillette, dans l’allée d’un parc, portant des bouquets, printed in a rose color, circa 1892 ($20,000 to $30,000); and Camille Pissarro’s Jeune Paysanne, printed in violet, circa 1900 ($7,000 to $10,000).

Another Pissarro highlight is a pencil drawing, Les homes parlent dans la rue ($6,000 to $9,000). Other unique 19th century works include Adolph von Menzel’s Bildnis einer Frau, pencil on paper, 1871 ($7,000 to $10,000); a color chalk drawing by Edward Burne-Jones of a Standing Nude, circa 1891-98 ($10,000 to $15,000); Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin’s Au bord de Rivière, Bateau et Pont, color pastels ($6,000 to $9,000); and pieces by Albert Marquet, Théophile Steinlen, Félix Vallotton, and others.

A particularly strong selection of American prints includes two desirable works by Edward Hopper, Portrait of Walter Tittle (The Illustrator), a 1918 etching so scarce it has not come up for auction in the past 25 years ($15,000 to $20,000), and his iconic Night Shadows, etching, 1921 ($30,000 to $50,000 respectively). Other appealing city views are Childe Hassam’s Fifth Avenue, Noon, etching 1916 ($7,000 to $10,000); Martin Lewis’s Quarter of Nine—Saturday’s Children, drypoint, 1929 ($15,000 to $20,000); and Stuart Davis’s lithograph Theatre on the Beach, 1931, which depicts the Théâtre de Montmartre in Paris ($25,000 to $35,000).

There are also luminous color woodcuts by Gustave Baumann and Bror J.O. Nordfeldt; a run of lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton, among them five illustrations from the film The Grapes of Wrath, 1939 ($8,000 to $12,000 for the set); irreverent scenes by Paul Cadmus such as Horseplay, showing young men in a locker room, etching, 1935 ($6,000 to $9,000); color lithographs and screenprints of African-American subjects by Romare Bearden; and a deluxe portfolio of Impresiones de Egipto by Francisco Zúniga, with 10 color lithographs, one of which has hand coloring in watercolor, 1982 ($7,000 to $10,000).

The remainder of the sale is devoted to modern European works, and features some important prints and drawings by Pablo Picasso. The drawings are a Portrait de vieille femme, pen and brush and dark brown ink on tan paper, circa 1900 ($30,000 to $50,000) and Méléagre tue le Sanglier de Calydon, pencil on Japan paper, circa 1930, which is likely a study for the same-titled etching from Les Métamorphoses d’Ovide ($40,000 to $60,000).

Top Picasso prints include Visage (Marie-Thérèse), lithograph, 1928, and Portrait de Jacqueline au bandeau accoudée, color linoleum cut, 1962 ($50,000 to $75,000 each); and after prints Les Saltimbanques, color aquatint and etching, 1922, and Baccanale, color aquatint, circa 1960 ($15,000 to $20,000 each). There are also a partially glazed terre de faïence vase with engraved decoration and painting, 1954 ($10,000 to $15,000); a 23-carat gold Poisson pendant, 1973 ($12,000 to $18,000); and a color screenprint on a cotton scarf for the 1952 Festival pour la Paix ($2,000 to $3,000).

Significant prints by other artists are Georges Braque’s Composition (Nature morte aux verres), etching and drypoint, 1912 ($20,000 to $30,000); László Moholy-Nagy, Planes and Stripes, woodcut, circa 1922 ($10,000 to $15,000); Henri Matisse’s Odalisque au Magnolia, lithograph on Japan paper, 1923 ($30,000 to $50,000); Kees van Dongen’s La Marquise de Casati, color lithograph on Japan, circa 1950 ($10,000 to $15,000); and an assortment of beautiful color lithographs by Marc Chagal including Carmen, 1967 ($40,000 to $60,000).

European drawing highlights are Juan Gris’s Le Soldat, brush and ink and black crayon on paper, 1908 ($12,000 to $18,000); an Untitled watercolor, pen and ink by El Lissitzky, circa 1920 ($30,000 to $50,000); George Grosz’s Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht, brush and black ink on paper, circa 1922, a study for a later print ($15,000 to $20,000); Le Corbusier’s Nature morte aux nombreux objects, color crayons and pencil on paper, 1923 ($40,000 to $60,000); Fernand Léger’s Acrobat, gouache on paper, circa 1950 ($20,000 to $30,000); and Man Ray’s La Femme Portative, pen and ink, 1937-74 ($10,000 to $15,000).

The first session of the auction will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 22. The sale will continue after a lunch break at 2:30 p.m. The works will be on public exhibition on Sat., Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Mon., Sept. 19 to Wed., Sept. 21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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