Swann’s African American art sale went well. They brought in $1,354,400 for all the lots and a sell through was a much stronger 80% with 97 of the 116 lots finding buyers. Better market or better sale management? (see our answer after the jump.)
Well, they found buyers for their top lots with Elizabeth Catlett‘s Homage to My Black Sisters making $288,000 with premium. That’s pretty close to the top estimate. John Biggers‘s Shotguns went for $216,000. Barkley L. Hendricks found a buyer for Bid ‘Em In/Slave at $144,000. That’s a healthy margin over the high estimate. Other notable prices were $84,000 for a Jacob Lawrence work called the Legend of John Brown. And Norman Lewis‘s Sinister Doings by Gaslight was worth $78,000 to someone.
More detailed results can be found here.
Here’s our chart of the last two sales. It shows a nice improvement primarily from Swann’s taking better control of their sale and reducing the number of lots on offer by 31%. The lots sold only dropped 15%, so Swann buttressed their numbers by excluding more of the marginal works. That helped the sell-through jump to 80% and the average price rise by 25% even though the overall sale value was only up 7%. Well done, Swann.