Published: February 4, 2020
NEW YORK CITY — Swann Galleries opened the new decade in style, with a sale of African American art from the Johnson Publishing Company on January 30. The collection — which hung in the publishing house’s historic offices at 820 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago — featured paintings, sculpture and works on paper from diverse periods over the last century, with 75 artists represented. Hung together in a single exhibition for the first time, the Johnson Publishing Company’s art collection made a powerful statement, demonstrating the company’s longstanding recognition and support of visual artists. The earliest work in the sale was its top lot. From 1912, Henry Ossawa Tanner’s oil on canvas “Moonrise by Kasbah (Morocco)” depicting figures outside the stark, steep exterior walls of a Moroccan kasbah, outperformed its high estimate to sell for $365,000. And a suite of seven framed photographs with etched glass, 1996-97, by Carrie Mae Weems, commissioned by the City of Chicago Public Art Program, marked another high point of the offering. One of an edition of only three, the suite came to the block estimated at $100/150,000 but finished at $305,000. Watch for a full review of this sale in an upcoming edition.
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