Auctions | May 19, 2021

Rembrandt & Picasso Led Sale of Prints at Swann

Courtesy of Swann Galleries

The record price of $32,500 was paid by a collector for Rembrandt’s Joseph Telling His Dream, etching and drypoint, 1638.      

New York — Swann Galleries’ sale of Old Master Through Modern Prints on Thursday, May 6 delivered $1.8 million in sales, and saw seven print records set. “There was robust and consistent interest in Old Master prints, with several new artist records set for prints by Rembrandt, Goya and Piranesi, and Modern prints were tenaciously contested as usual,” noted Todd Weyman, the house’s director of prints and drawings.

The top two lots in the auction were Pablo Picasso's Fumeur à la Cigarette Rouge, color aquatint, 1964, at a near-record price of $42,500, and Rembrandt van Rijn Joseph Telling his Dreams, etching, 1638, at a record setting $32,500, setting a precedent for the sale as a whole with household names leading throughout.

Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Rembrandt proved to be the favorite among the Old Masters on offer with eight of the Dutch artist’s etchings making their way into the top 20 lots sold, and three establishing records. The Holy Family, circa 1632, brought a record for the print at $20,000, and A Ragged Peasant with His Hands Behind Him, Holding a Stick, circa 1633, achieved a record at $17,500. Also of note by Rembrandt was Self Portrait in a Cap and Scarf with the Face Dark: Bust, 1633, at $30,000; and Landscape with an Obelisk, circa 1650, at $22,500. Rounding out the Old Master offering was three records for etchings by Giovanni Piranesi: Vue Intérieure du Temple de Neptune, 1778, at $7,250, Veduta della Piazza del Popolo, 1750, at $6,250, and Veduta interna del Pronao del Pantheon, 1769, at $2,000; as well as a record for Francisco José de Goya’s Modo de Volar, circa 1824, at $20,000.
The Modern offering included Salvador Dalí’s Les Caprices de Goya, a 1977 portfolio with 80 heliogravures from Goya’s etchings with aquatint from Los Caprichos reworked by Dalí with drypoint and stencil coloring, which sold for $30,000, and Faust by Goethe, a 1969 set of color drypoints, at $23,750. Additional works from Picasso were Picador II, color lithograph, 1961, at $22,500, and Picador, a 1953 glazed terre-de-faïence plate painted in green, blue, yellow and white, at $17,500. Exemplary work by Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse and Joan Miró rounded out the section.

The house is currently accepting consignments for the fall 2021 season. For the house’s most up-to-date auction schedule please visit