Auctions | October 17, 2016

Pissarro & Dürer Featured in Swann Galleries’ Old Master-Modern Sale

36-Durer copy.jpgNew York— On Thursday, November 3, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Old Master Through Modern Prints, featuring section of the sale devoted to a collection works by Camille Pissarro: Impressionist Icon.

The beginning of the auction offers works by renowned Old Masters, with impressive runs by Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn. Scarce engravings by Dürer include his 1514 Melencholia I, a well-inked impression estimated at $70,000 to $100,000, and Knight, Death and the Devil, 1513 ($60,000 to $90,000), as well as a very scarce chiaroscuro woodcut of Ulrich Varnbüler, 1522 ($40,000 to $60,000). Rembrandt’s etching, engraving and drypoint Christ before Pilate: Large Plate, 1635-36, is estimated at $60,000 to $90,000, while one of earliest known impressions of Cottages Beside a Canal: A View of Diemen, circa 1645, is expected to sell for $50,000 to $80,000.

The highlight of the sale is a private collection of prints and drawings by Impressionist master Camille Pissarro. This standalone catalogue surveys Impressionism’s most prolific printmaker, and comprises 67 lots of prints and drawings, including many lifetime impressions that have rarely been seen at auction. One of these is Femme vidant une brouette, 1880, a scarce etching and drypoint of which fewer than thirty exist. Only three other lifetime impressions have appeared at auction; this one is expected to sell for $30,000 to $50,000. Another masterpiece on offer is Foire de Saint-Martin à Pontoise, 1879, a drypoint and aquatint created during Pissarro’s time in Pontoise. Only seven impressions of this work are known to exist; one unsigned version has appeared at auction in the last thirty years. The present signed work is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.

A third section of the sale encompasses work created in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by European and American printmakers, including Gustav Baumann and James A. M. Whistler. After resounding success with early New York City scenes in their last print sale on September 22, Swann will be offering a richly-inked impression of Martin Lewis’s drypoint Rain on Murray Hill, 1928, showing the 34th Street Armory on Park Avenue in a steady drizzle ($15,000 to $20,000). More rare works by Lewis include Day’s End, 1937, in which factory workers trudge home on a cold day. Only five other impressions of this luminous print have appeared at auction in the last thirty years; this one is expected to sell between $20,000 and $30,000.

Further offerings include a run of lithographs by George Bellows of boxing scenes, as well as Arch Conspirators, a 1917 etching by John Sloan of artists celebrating on top of the Washington Square Arch to establish the "secession of Greenwich Village from the United States," including Marcel Duchamp and Sloan himself ($1,500 to $2,500). Fans of the pastoral will delight in a run of lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton crowned by The Race, 1942, and Running Horses, 1955 ($20,000 to $30,000 and $15,000 to $20,000, respectively).

Prints by Latin American artists are seeing a rise in popularity in the last year, and works like Diego Rivera’s 1932 lithograph Fruits of Labor, estimated at $15,000 to $20,000, is expected to perform well. Further Latin American artists on offer include David A. Siquieros and Rufino Tamayo.

The top lot in the sale is a portfolio of 29 color lithographs with text after Pablo Picasso, 1969. The artist’s proofs, outside of the edition of 250, are titled Vignt-Neuf Portraits Imaginaires; together they are estimated at $80,000 to $120,000. Picasso is well-represented by a variety of media including ceramics. Works by European master printers Georges Braque, Henri Matisse and Joan Miró abound. One unusual find is a large lithograph by Alberto Giacometti of his studio in Paris titled Atelier II, 1954 ($8,000 to $12,000).

The three-part auction will be held Thursday, November 3, beginning at 10:30 with Old Masters; Camille Pissarro will begin at 2 p.m.; 19th & 20th Century Prints at 3 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public Saturday, October 29 from noon to 5 p.m.; and Monday, October 31 through Wednesday, November 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

An illustrated auction catalogue is available for $40 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information or to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Swann Director of Prints & Drawings Todd Weyman at 212-254-4710, extension 32 or

Image: Lot 36 Albrecht Dürer, Ulrich Varnbüler, ciaroscuro woodcut, 1522. Estimate $40,000 to $60,000.