Published: October 15, 2019
NEW YORK CITY — In its African American fine art auction on October 8, Swann Galleries set a new artist auction record for Elizabeth Catlett at $389,000.
The scarce example of Catlett’s early 1960s carved mahogany sculpture “Seated Woman” is the earliest wood sculpture by Catlett to come to auction, according to the auction house.
“Seated Woman” dates from Catlett’s strongest period in sculpture, from 1955 to 1968. It was acquired by the Saint Louis Art Museum. Brent R. Benjamin, the museum’s Barbara B. Taylor director, said that a major work by Catlett has been a long-held priority for the museum. “We are delighted to add this exceptional sculpture to the collection,” Benjamin said. “As a modernist wood sculpture by an African American woman artist, ‘Seated Woman’ will significantly enrich our American art collection.”
The sale featured an offering of sculpture and abstract paintings, as well as a selection of contemporary figurative works in a variety of mediums.
Said Nigel Freeman, director of African American fine art at Swann Galleries, “I am very pleased with the results of our auction. High prices and new auction records for Elizabeth Catlett, Allan Rohan Crite, Sargent Johnson and William H. Johnson — all important figures from the first generation of modern African American artists — shows the growing breadth of the market. Elizabeth Catlett was especially deserving of a new record, and ‘Seated Woman’ was the perfect work to do it, embodying all the wonderful qualities found in her wood sculpture. Another trend was the rising popularity and value of the paintings of Hughie Lee-Smith and Walter Williams — two significant midcentury painters Swann has specialized in. We were also excited to set a new record for Kenneth Victor Young, more than doubling his previous auction record with his largest painting to come to auction, setting the bar for his emerging secondary market.”
Watch for a full report on the sale in an upcoming issue.
September 28, 2022
September 28, 2022
September 27, 2022
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm