Swann Galleries consolidates its position in the African American art category with $3.82m sale.
This commentary by Marion Maneker is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.)
Swann African American = $3.82m
Emma Amos, Let Me Off Uptown (1999-2000) $125,000
Swann’s semi-annual African American art sale totaled $3,820,080 with 175 lots offered and 155 sold or a 89% sell-through. The estimate range for the sale was $2,267,700 on the low side and $3,434,800 on the high side. The final hammer price came in at $3.07m.
Swann’s Nigel Freeman says the sale saw prices either matching or surpassing previous records for Emma Amos, William H. Johnson, Howardena Pindell and Augusta Savage—and setting new records for Simone Leigh, Sonya Clark and Mary Lovelace O’Neal.
Swann’s Top Ten
The top ten lots in the sale accounted for $1.68m or 44% of the total sale.
The top ten lots in the sale were:
- (105) Norman Lewis, Block Island (1973-75) $389,000
- (35) Charles White, Caliban (1950) $221,000
- (134) Faith Ringgold, Sleeping: Lover’s Quilt #2 (1986) $221,000
- (87) Romare Bearden, Early Morning (1968-69) $185,000
- (156) John Biggers, Death and Resurrection (1996) $149,000
- (163) Emma Amos, Let Me Off Uptown (1999-2000) $125,000
- (24) William H. Johnson, Jitterbugs V (1941-42) $118,750
- (102) Elizabeth Catlett, Untitled (Civil Rights Protest) (1974) $118,750
- (119) Frank Bowling, In M. of M.W. II (1980) $118,750
- (112) Kermit Oliver, Dusk (1972) $112,500
African American Art Continues Upward Trend
We have a more detailed look at the last decade of sales of African American art at Swann Galleries for AMMpro subscribers here. But here we can show you the yearly totals for Swann’s sales. If the last several years have been an indication of where the market is headed, there’s a good chance that 2019 will show a pull back in total before the market builds more. Whether Swann can continue to hold onto the historical market is another trend to watch. The other auction houses have begun to look for more work by African American artists to sell. Those artists have also begun to appeal to a broader audience outside of the category.