NEW YORK, NY.-
On Tuesday, June 10, Swann Galleries
will conduct and auction of African-American Fine Art titled: The Shape of Things to Come. The sale focuses on the rapid changes in both the art world and the nationsocially and politicallyduring the 1960s and 1970s.
African-American artists quickly adapted to the times in the era of the Civil Rights and Black Nationalism, and this 160-lot auction boasts a strong selection of works from those pivotal decades. Many of these artists are now being re-examined and prized by institutions and collectors, and have been included in recent major museum exhibitions.
Paintings include Barkley L. Hendrickss Sergio, a 1972 oil and acrylic on canvas. Sergio is a bold life-size portrait painted at the beginning of Hendrickss career, and was featured in the recent retrospective Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool. (Estimate: $80,000 to $120,000.)
William T. Williamss Truckin, acrylic on canvas, 1969, is a significant painting from his first year of work after completing his MFA at Yale, with imagery that quickly gained him international recognition as an abstract painter in the late 1960s and early 1970sit is, in fact, the earliest painting by the artist yet to come to auction ($75,000 to $100,000).
Additional 1960s highlights are Faith Ringgolds large oil on canvas The American People Series #15: Hide Little Children, 1966, from her important The American People Series of approximately 20 paintings completed between 1963 and 1967, which displayed her pointed observations on race relations during the Civil Rights era ($35,000 to $50,000); Bob Thompsons Untitled (Reflections), goauche on paper, 1963, inspired by the rituals and theater found in the Old Masters ($30,000 to $40,000); Walter Williamss Southern Landscape, oil and collage on board, 1963-64, which is considered the artists most important painting, and one of his best known works ($20,000 to $30,00); Hughie Lee-Smiths Rooftops, oil on canvas, 1961, a fascinating example of Lee-Smith's early 1960s work in New York where he continued painting rooftops scenes as he had in Detroit ($25,000 to $35,000); Vincent D. Smiths Do-Rag Brother, oil and sand on canvas, 1968 ($10,000 to $15,000); and an Untitled acrylic on canvas by Alvin D. Loving, Jr., which is a striking and unusual example of the artist's geometric abstraction in a non-shaped canvas, circa 1969-70 ($30,000 to $40,000).
Other abstract paintings of note include Norman Lewiss Under Sea, oil on canvas, 1953, a mid-career work from the 15 paintings shown in his fifth solo gallery exhibition at the Willard Gallery ($25,000 to $35,000) and Hale Woodruffs Untitled (Green Landscape), oil on canvas, circa 1969-70 ($20,000 to $30,000).
The sale offers the first significant work by assemblage artist Noah Purifoy to come to auction: Untitled (Standing Figure), an assemblage construction including wood, wood veneer, leather and found objects, circa 1968-70 ($60,000 to $90,000).
There are two important late-career sculptures by Elizabeth Catlett, one, Standing Figure, in tropical wood and black enamel, 1986 ($150,000 to $200,000); the other, Reclined Figure, in black marble, 2005 ($60,000 to $90,000). These works embody Catletts expression of the female form found within the natural beauty of her materials.
Also among recent works by important female artists are Lorna Simpsons Nervous Conditions, two color Polaroid prints with engraved Plexiglas, 1992 ($15,000 to $25,000); Julie Mehretus Entropia: Construction, lithograph on chine appliqué and Somerset Satin paper, 2005 ($8,000 to $12,000) and Kara Walkers Canisters, complete set of six etched glass canisters, 1997 ($4,000 to $6,000) and no world, etching with aquatint, sugar-lift, spit-bite and drypoint on Hahnemuhle Copperplate Bright White paper, 2010, from her An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters series ($7,000 to $10,000).
Contemporary highlights also include Sam Gilliams Looking at the Moon, raked polypropylene, acrylic, monoprint and color woodblock on an assemblage of collaged handmade papers and sewn found fabric, 1991 ($12,000 to $18,000); Frank Bowlings Pink Plain 2, acrylic on collaged and stitched canvas, 1996 ($12,000 to $18,000) and Richard Mayhews Scarlet Journey, oil on canvas, 2006, a beautiful example of the artists later landscapes ($20,000 to $30,000).
There is a complete set of Romare Beardens Ritual Bayou, six editioned collages, color photo-lithograph mounted on finished plywood, 1971, titled Memories, Reunion, Ritual Bayou, Carolina Interior, Mississippi Monday and Byzantine Frieze. This very scarce set from the artists brief experimentation with editioned collages in the early 1970s was likely never fully realized in the intended edition of 75 ($20,000 to $30,000).
The auction will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10.
The works will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries Thursday, June 5 and Friday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, June 6, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, June 10, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.