Swann Galleries' Focus on Women auction features women's contributions to art, life, and society

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Swann Galleries' Focus on Women auction features women's contributions to art, life, and society
Truth, Sojourner (circa 1797-1883). Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Northern Slave. Boston: Printed for the author [by J.B. Yerriton and Son], 1850. First edition, edited by Olive Gilbert.



NEW YORK, NY.- Swann Galleries’ Focus on Women auction is scheduled for Thursday, June 1. The sale pulls together an eclectic selection of material representing women’s contributions to art, life, and society. From Louisa May Alcott to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Catherine the Great to Susan B. Anthony, and Jane Austen to Amelia Earhart, the works of many famous women are included, but the sale wouldn’t fulfill its brief without emphasizing the everyday lives of women and their unsung accomplishments and triumphs.

Literary works are among the sale’s top lots. Leading the auction is a first edition of Sojourner Truth’s Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Northern Slave, Boston, 1850, at $10,000 to $15,000. Also of note is a third edition of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, London, 1817, from the library of Supreme Court Justice and early supporter of Austen, Joseph Story ($6,000-8,000); an autographed large paper edition of The Writings by Harriet Beecher Stowe in sixteen octavo volumes ($3,500-5,000); and a first edition of Compendio de la Vida, y virtudes de la venerable Catarina de San Juan, Puebla, 1692, the story of Catarina de San Juan, who was reportedly abducted from South Asia and sold into slavery by the Portuguese, she eventually found her way to Mexico and the church and is credited with creating the China Poblana style of dress ($5,000-7,000). Religious texts include The Women’s Bible, 1898, signed and inscribed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton—a collection of essays and commentaries on the Bible compiled in 1895 by a committee chaired by Cady Stanton, one of the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention (the first Woman's Rights Convention held in 1848) and a founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association ($7,000-9,000); and the Bible translated by Julia Evelina Smith ($3,000-5,000).

Archives featured in the sale include photographs and letters of Fanny Stevenson documenting her time in Vailma in Somoa with her husband Robert Louis Stevenson circa 1866 to 1904 ($4,000-6,000); photo albums and travel diaries kept by Lorette Belle Tulian Eaton during her time in the American West and across the globe from 1905 to the 1920s ($3,000-5,000); and the family archive of author Charlotte Perkin Gilman ($700-900).

Art features in the auction in a variety of media including photography, prints, and sculpture. Of special interest is a large collection of Mary Beth Edelson’s working files, an archive related to her lifetime correspondence and work ($5,000-7,000); Cindy Sherman’s 1978 silver print Secretary, printed 1993 ($6,000-8,000); and Ruth Berhnhard’s 1972 silver print, Knees & Arms ($2,500-3,500). Also of note are works by Tina Modotti, Corita Kent, Alice Baber, among others.

Developing collecting areas is a strong component for this sale, as the house works to shine the light on the underrepresentation of women. The field of female provenance boasts several interesting lots, as well as books printed by female printers and periodicals published and dedicated to the interests of women and their dedicated causes. Further items of interest are the yearbook for the 318th Women Army Airforce Training Detachment, World War II, class of 1943 ($700-900); and an autograph script for a performance of Mrs. Jarley’s Waxworks by Louisa May Alcott circa 1867 to 1879 ($2,000-3,000).

Exhibition hours were May 26 and May 30 through May 31 from 12 p.m to 5 p.m. Live online bidding platforms will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers.










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