Auctions | August 26, 2013

Drawings by Dali, Leger, Miro, and Picasso at Swann Galleries September 12


New York—On Thursday, September 12, Swann Galleries will conduct an auction of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings that features unique works by Salvador Dalí, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró, László Moholy-Nagy and Pablo Picasso, and prints by other European and American masters.

The sale opens with a strong selection of 19th century prints, which features Honoré Daumier’s Rue Transnonain, le 15 Avril 1834, a disturbing and controversial work depicting a working-class Parisian family murdered by government soldiers during the suppression of a riot (estimate: $20,000 to $30,000). Sharing that estimate is a black chalk drawing by Jean-François Millet, Paysanne près d’un petit feu dans les Champs.

Also among drawings of note are a two-sided pencil and gouache by Edgar Degas, Etude d’après Sibylle de Delphe one on side and Académie de Femme on the other, circa 1855-56, drawn during one of his visits to Rome ($15,000 to $20,000); and Paul César Helleu’s Portrait de Jeune Femme, black, light blue, rose and white crayon on paper, circa 1900 ($10,000 to $15,000).


A run of works by James A.M. Whistler includes one of only 11 recorded impressions of The Muff, etching and drypoint, 1874 ($40,000 to $60,000); Old Putney Bridge, etching and drypoint, in its seventh state, 1879 ($8,000 to $12,000); and lithographs such as the late-career The Duet, 1904, an intimate scene of Whistler’s wife and sister singing together at a piano ($25,000 to $35,000).

Other print highlights include Mary Cassat’s drypoints Gardner Held by His Mother, circa 1887 and Tea, circa 1890 ($15,000 to $20,000 each); several society portraits by James Jacques Tissot, among them Octobre, an etching and drypoint from 1878, based on the painting of the same name, depicting his companion and muse Kathleen Newton ($20,000 to $30,000); and Henri de Touse-Lautrec’s Frontispice pour Elles, color lithograph, 1896 9$20,000 to $30,000).

A section devoted to American Prints & Drawings offers excellent examples, including a sporting image by Frank W. Benson, Old Tom, etching, 1926 ($8,000 to $12,000); stunning color wood cuts such as Bror J.O. Nordfeldt’s The Wave, Moonrise, 1906 ($7,000 to $10,000) and Blanche Lazell’s The Flaming Bush, 1933 ($10,000 to $15,000); Edward Hopper’s iconic Night Shadows, etching, 1921 ($25,000 to $35,000); Thomas Hart Benton’s powerful lithograph The Race, 1942 ($12,000 to $18,000); and the dynamic Arrangement for Drums by Benton Spruance, lithograph, 1941 ($10,000 to $15,000).

There are also drawings by Paul Cadmus, including Male Nude Seated on a Ledge, black and white chalk ($10,000 to $15,000); an oil on board by Rico Lebrun, Teresa, 1952 ($7,000 to $10,000); and a charcoal drawing by Francisco Zúñiga, Mujer que se Sienta, 1972 ($5,000 to $8,000).

The largest section of the sale, European Prints & Drawings, offers many exciting works—including drawings by well-known artists. There is a two-sided pen and brown ink drawing by Pablo Picasso from 1969, Tête de Mousquetaire, of courtly figures evoking the artist’s late-career style ($40,000 to $60,000); in addition to many fine prints by Picasso, such as Homme dévoilant une Femme, drypoint, 1931 ($15,000 to $20,000); Garçon et Dormeuse al la Chandelle, aquatint and etching, 1934 from the Vollard Suite ($30,000 to $50,000); a special edition of Histoire Naturelle: Eaux-Fortes Originales pour des Textes de Buffon, with 31 aquatints with etching and drypoint, 1942 ($35,000 to $50,000); Le Modèle et Deux Personnages, color lithograph, 1954 ($18,000 to $22,000); and examples of his faience ware.

There is a gouache and watercolor Composition by avant-garde artist László Moholy-Nagy, which was once in the collection of respected literary agent Joan Daves, with whom the artist worked on a book in the 1940s ($40,000 to $60,000); and a Cubist Fernand Léger gouache and watercolor and charcoal, Villes I, 1949, from the final period in the Léger’s career, which is a design for a lithograph in the book Les Illuminations, with text by Arthur Rimbaud ($30,000 to $50,000).

Joan Miró’s Untitled (Figures), color crayon drawing, 1959, was a gift from the artist to his close friend, designer Ward Bennett, and includes an inscription to him ($40,000 to 60,000). Also a gift to Bennett was a color pencil drawing by Le Corbusier, Nature Morte, 1925 ($20,000 to $30,000).

Salvador Dalí’s La Chiave, pen and ink on paper, 1960, is an example of the artist at the pinnacle of his career, with its unmistakable surreal Dalinian landscape ($40,000 to $60,000).

There are also drawings by Kees Van Dongen, Jean Dubuffet, Raoul Dufy, George Grosz, Gustav Klimt, Marino Marini and Roberto Matta.

Print highlights are a color aquatint and etching with hand coloring by Jacques Villon, titled Comédie de Société, 1903 ($20,000 to $30,000); Robert Delaunay’s La Tour, lithograph on Japan, 1925 ($40,000 to $60,000); Max Beckmann’s Frauenbad, drypoint, 1922 ($10,000 to $15,000); Petit Intérieur Bleu after Henri Matisse, color aquatint, circa 1952 ($20,000 to $30,000); and M.C. Escher’s Belvedere, lithograph, 1958 ($20,000 to $30,000).

The first session of the auction will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 12. The sale will continue after a lunch break at 1:30 p.m. The works will be on public exhibition on Sat., September 7, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Mon., September 9 through Wed., September 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $40 in the U.S./ $50 elsewhere from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Todd Weyman at (212) 254-4710, extension 32, or via e-mail at

Live online bidding is also available via

First image: Fernand Léger, Villes I, gouache and watercolor and charcoal, 1949 (estimate: $30,000 to $50,000).

Second image: James A.M. Whistler, The Duet, lithograph, 1904 (estimate: $25,000 to $35,000).