Published: September 21, 2021
Review by Greg Smith
NEW YORK CITY- There was an allure to David Killen’s September 12 sale, found somewhere between the near-uniform $200/300 estimates, the mix of consignors and the sheer force of watching a sleeper lot take off like a phoenix rising.
Had you read the stories leading up to the sale, Killen was offering the estate of Jeannie Trezevant, a New York City teacher who had collected art by Black American artists, among them Alvin Hollingsworth, Elizabeth Catlett and Romare Bearden. There were 16 works by Hollingsworth in the sale, led by 12 original paintings in a variety of mediums. Selling for $4,200 was “The Prophet,” a 24-by-36-inch painting. A Black figure towers in the foreground over a town seen off in the distance. In a 1971 Ebony magazine interview, Hollingsworth said, “I have always felt that Christ was a Black man,” and said the subject represented a “philosophical symbol of any of the modern prophets who have been trying to show us the right way. To me, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King are such prophets.” A gouache/collage of with a prophet scene sold for $2,125. A $2,400 result was made for “Trip,” a 12-by-16-inch painting. Its original price at the Harbor Gallery in Long Island was $175.
Romare Bearden was led at $3,600 by “The Family,” a circa 1970 signed lithograph. Both Hollingsworth and Bearden were members of the artist group Spiral. “On The Subway,” a 1986 lithograph by Elizabeth Catlett would sell for $1,920.
In order to show its scale, Killen makes a cameo in the catalog holding a large Chinese Sang de Boeuf vase. He holds the Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century example in two hands to support the weight of the 20½-inch-tall vase as he wears a prophetic smile across his face. It came from the estate of Morristown, N.J., collector Daniel Collins, who owned it for at least five decades. The smile came to bear when the vase sold for $28,800. The auction house said it was one of the largest examples of its kind to come to auction in some time.
Rising to $4,920 was a wood veneered cabinet made by Art Deco designer Leon Jallot, circa 1925. The example was signed on the bottom and came with old Sotheby’s arcade stickers. It came from the estate of fashion photographer and antiques dealer Roger Prigent, who owned Malmaison on New York City’s Upper East Side.
All prices reported include buyer’s premium. For more information, www.davidkillengallery.com or 646-590-2788.
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