Queer art, ephemera & historical material at Swann Galleries August 19

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Queer art, ephemera & historical material at Swann Galleries August 19
Tom of Finland, Home – Secured, colored pencil on paper, 1982. Estimate $60,000 to $90,000.

NEW YORK, NY.- Swann Galleries’s third annual auction dedicated to the art, material culture, and history of the LGBTQ+ community will be held on Thursday, August 19, bringing to market both familiar artists as well as fresh, unusual and infrequently seen material.

Among the art highlights are several original works by Tom of Finland, including two preparatory drawings and a completed color pencil work, Home—Secured, 1982 ($60,000-90,000); four oil paintings by Hugh Steers are led by Gold Fringe, 1993 ($30,000-50,000); a run of works by Paul Cadmus including a Prisma-color crayon drawing, Male Nude (MN155), 1979 ($20,000-30,000); three drawings by Gerda Wegener, as well as material by Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and David Wojnarowicz.

A significant section of important fine photographs will feature works by the medium’s most significant practitioners. Diane Arbus is on offer with Girl in Her Circus Costume, MD, silver print, 1970, printed 1972 ($8,000-12,000) and Two Men Dancing at a Drag Ball, NYC, silver print, 1970, printed 1972 ($5,000-7,500); Peter Hujar features with Man on Chair (Richard Weinroth), silver print, 1979 ($12,000-18,000); and JEB (Joan E. Biren) is present with a selection of joyful images including Gloria and Charmaine, silver print, 1979 ($1,000-1,500) and Darquita and Daughter, silver print, 1979 ($1,000-1,500). Also crossing the block is Robert Mapplethorpe, George Platt Lynes, as well as several studies of the male physique by Bruce of LA, and a pair of portraits of the iconic figure Fançois “Féral” Benga who served as a muse for artists during the Harlem Renaissance, including Richmond Barthé whose bronze statue of Benga set a record for Barthé in our June 2020 sale of African American Art.

Early material features a very unusual group of historical Oscar Wilde advertising cards dating to his first tour around America in 1882 ($1,000-1,500). Twentieth-century material sees a group of 13 gay rights fliers issued in the weeks after Stonewall in 1969 by the Mattachine Society and others ($1,500-2,500), two greeting cards issues by the short-lived Third World Gay Liberation Group (a splinter group of the Gay Liberation Front) from 1970 ($500-750), and an invitation to a Gay Independence Day Picnic thrown by the Madison Gay Liberation Front in 1973 ($500-750). A 1989 20th anniversary of Stonewall postcard with the “first ever gay-related U.S. Post Office cancellation” ($100-150), vintage posters for the St. Marks Baths by Boris Vallejo ($2,000-3,000), The Wall Street Sauna ($200-300) and a collection of posters by “fierce pussy” ($800-1,200) represent material from the late 1980s.

Literature will include a signed copy of Lord Alfred Douglas’s My Friendship with Oscar Wilde, New York, 1932 ($100-200), a select grouping of lesbian pulp fiction ($300-500, each), as well as a group of lesbian studies and literature first editions from 1929 to 1984 ($300-500), and a group of five signed titles by Tennessee Williams ($500-750).

As in years past, the house has chosen a nonprofit to donate to, and this year Swann has partnered with the American LGBTQ+ Museum, New York City’s first museum dedicated to LGBTQ+ history and culture. For this auction, Swann will match the donation amount for every consignor who donates 1% of their proceeds.

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