Auctions | October 21, 2015

Private Collection of Scarce American Prints Leads Swann Galleries’ November 3 & 4 Offerings


New York—On Tuesday, November 3 & Wednesday, November 4, Swann Galleries’ Prints & Drawings department will offer a two-part sale of Old Master Through Modern Prints, leading with American Prints from a Private Collection on November 3.

The sale will begin on Tuesday with American Prints from a Private Collection, headlined by a scarce Martin Lewis drypoint, the luminous Wet Night, Route 6, 1933 (estimate $20,000 to $30,000). Only 5 other impressions of this print, which depicts a Connecticut highway, have come to auction in the past 30 years. Other highlights from this private collection include Childe Hassam’s etching of a historic home in Easthampton, Lion Gardiner House, 1920 ($15,000 to $20,000); Thomas Hart Benton’s 1942 lithograph, The Race, a compelling image of a horse running alongside a locomotive ($15,000 to $20,000); and a run of vividly colorful woodcuts by Gustav Baumann, including Grandma Battin’s Garden (Hoosier Garden), 1926, and Morning Sun, 1932 (each estimated at $10,000 to $15,000). The collection includes a wide range of artists, from John Marin and George Bellows to more modern works by Elizabeth Catlett and Rockwell Kent, making it an excellent tour through the history of American printmaking.

The sale continues on Wednesday with Old Master Through Modern Prints, featuring a run of works by Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn, including the dramatic etching and drypoint, The Great Jewish Bride, 1635 ($50,000 to $80,000); Studies of the Heads of Saskia and Others, etching, 1636 ($40,000 to $60,000); and the miniscule but detailed etchings Self Portrait in a Cap, Laughing, 1630, and Self Portrait with Cap Pulled Forward, 1631 (each estimated at $30,000 to $50,000).

Another master printmaker well represented in this sale is German High Renaissance painter and engraver Albrecht Dürer. The run of works by Dürer includes the whimsical The Sea Monster, engraving, before 1500 ($40,000 to $60,000); and the pensive St. Anthony Reading, engraving, 1519 ($40,000 to $60,000). Somewhat unusual are two exceptionally scarce woodcuts by Dürer, Knot with an Oblong Shield and Knot with a White Disk, both 1505-07. The former has not been seen at auction in the last 30 years (each $5,000 to $8,000).

American printmaker and painter Mary Cassatt’s tender piece The Oval Mirror, drypoint, circa 1905 ($30,000 to $50,000) recalls images of the Italian Madonna and Child. Other American and Latin American printmakers featured include Grant Wood, Benton Spruance, Paul Cadmus and Rufino Tamayo.

Finally, there is a strong selection of modern prints in the sale, including Pablo Picasso’s 1934 etching Rembrandt et jeune fille de profil ($35,000 to $50,000); Edvard Munch’s lithograph Mondaufgang, 1908-09 ($20,000 to $30,000); Marc Chagall’s 1948 color lithograph Mounting the Ebony Horse ($20,000 to $30,000); and two entrancing lithographs by Maurits C. Escher: Waterfall, 1961, and Ascending and Descending, 1960 (each estimated at $20,000 to $30,000).

The auction will be split into two days, beginning Tuesday, November 3 at 2:00 p.m. and resuming Wednesday, November 4 at 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public, with an exhibition opening Thursday, October 29 and Friday October 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, October 31 from noon to 5; Monday, November 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, November 3 from 10 a.m. to noon.

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

First image: Lot 64: Gustave Baumann, Grandma Battin's Garden (Hoosier Garden), color woodcut, 1926. Estimate $10,000 to $15,000. At auction November 3. 

Second image: Lot 108: Martin Lewis, Wet Night, Route 6, drypoint, 1933. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000. At auction November 3.