The value in collecting fields is often a function of the scholarship available. The more information known about the artists’ lives, work, influences and, most important, location of the works, the easier it is for a market to function and value to accrue. Swann has been building an interesting base in the market for African American art with a series of auctions. One of the drivers of that market is the group of original collectors, often friends of the artists, who are now selling to institutions that are eager to create reference collections. Now The Art Newspaper reports that Swann has added to the information available by offering this archive:
Institutional interest was spurred by an African-American art history archive built over five decades by artist-writer James Amos Porter, author of the groundbreaking Modern Negro Art, 1943. Packed with correspondence, photographs, catalogues and other data, four major institutions examined it before the sale. One anonymous institution secured it for $50,400 (estimate $30,000-$40,000), described by Wyatt Day as “a very good but still modest price [considering] the richness of the prime research material”. The result was second only to the departmental record of $57,600, set last February for five hours of original 16mm film of black life in the 1920s, shot by Reverend Solomon Sir Jones.
Market for African American Art Continues to Grow (The Art Newspaper)