Eye on Auctions

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:00

Quiet and quality on the rise for aficionados

The next few weeks are relatively quiet in the NY auction world. Much of the activity takes place at Swann Galleries as indicated below, and the previews merit a visit. Refer to the websites for schedules, illustrated catalogues--and sometimes videos, blogs, and press releases about highlights. 


Swann swanngalleries.com 

Swann introduced separate auctions devoted to African-American fine art a mere seven years ago, and they quickly became a beacon for aficionados. The February 13 sale, Shadows Uplifted: The Rise of African-American Fine Art, takes its title from an early novel by an African-American author. Paintings include masterful 19th-century landscapes by Edward M. Bannister and still lifes by Charles Ethan Porter, "Coal Breakers," by Hughie Lee-Smith, and an industrial scene, "Along the Harlem River," by Malvin Gray Johnson. Of note among prints are a rare color pochoir and screenprint by William H. Johnson, "On a John Brown Flight," and "Shipfitters," an aquatint by Dox Thrash. There are striking sculptures such as Nancy Elizabeth Prophet's stained and oiled wood "Head," Sargent Claude Johnson's terracotta "The Knot and the Noose," and William E. Artis's "Michael," bronze cast from a 1940 terracotta.  

Art Nouveau gems by Mucha and other famed poster artists, American and European ski posters, Mather Work Incentive posters, and exhibition posters signed by Chagall and Warhol are featured in the Vintage Posters sale on February 25. A two-part auction on February 27 begins with post-war and contemporary photographs and the Photobook Library of photographer and collector Bill Diodato; the second part offers additional 19th & 20th century Photographs. The March 6 sale of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings runs the gamut of European and American artists, from Cezanne to Picasso; Avery, to Wood.  


Christie's christies.com 

The cover lot of the American Art sale on Feb 26 is a complex view of "Gloucester Harbor" by Jane Peterson. Among other pieces worth noting are Milton Avery's "Vermont Landscape," Charles Burchfield's "Swamp in Spring," and an abstract composition by Irene Rice Pereira. Two Distinguished Collections: the Estates of Hon. Noreen Drexel and of Van Cliburn, filled with pretty objects and some fine furniture, will be offered on March 4 & 5, followed by First Open on March 6. 


Sotheby's sothebys.com 

Furniture, decorative arts and lighting featuring Tiffany Studios, American Arts & Crafts, French Art Nouveau and Art Deco objects are featured in the March 6 sale of 20th Century Design. On March 7,    

Contemporary Curated offers postwar and contemporary art from carefully assembled collections, with commentary by various tastemakers. 


Phillips Phillips.com 

Details are not yet available, but you can expect striking examples of Contemporary Art & Design like Ken Price's "Pink Egg," 1964, on March 6, and vivid works in various media, such as David Salle's "Painting for H.C.A.," in Under the Influence on March 7.