$2.6-Million Prints & Drawings Auction at Swann Galleries
New York—Swann Galleries’ auction of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings on March 13 offered an especially grand selection of original works by some of the greatest artists of the last 200 years. Works by Martin Lewis and Diego Rivera achieved new auction records, and many of the top lots were won by collectors.
Leading the sale was an important early etching by Edward Hopper. House by a River, 1919, was one of the artist’s first forays into the themes of modern isolation that would define his oeuvre. The house depicted still stands in Nyack, NY, just a short walk from the artist’s birthplace. It was purchased by a collector for $100,000.
Pablo Picasso was well represented in the sale by a fine selection of prints and ceramics. These were led by the masterful lithograph La Colombe, 1949, at $67,500. Another lithograph, Téte de jeune femme, 1947, reached a record $50,000. A partially glazed terre de faïence pitcher titled Flower Women, 1948, was purchased by a collector for $27,000.
Setting the sale apart was a selection of original drawings: a charming pencil sketch on blue paper by Claude Monet, at just 16 years old, of a cottage in Gainneville sold to a collector for $30,000. An elegant pencil drawing by Amadeo Modigliani, Femme nue, trois quarts, debout, circa 1915, reached $50,000, while Francis Picabia’s Sans Titre (Transparence), circa 1930s, sold for $40,000, above a high estimate of $15,000. A drawing in crayon by Picasso, Profil d’Homme Vert, 1956, exceeded its high estimate to sell for $17,500.
Works by Diego Rivera led a robust section of Latin American art, featuring each of his three most important lithographs. The 1932 El sueño (La noche de los pobres) sold for a record $40,000. Zapata, 1932, and Frutos de la Escuela, 1932, also performed well ($32,500 and $27,500, respectively). A charming ink and wash painting of a Niña sentada doubled its high estimate to sell for $30,000 to a collector.
New York Nocturne, circa 1930, an extremely rare charcoal drawing by Martin Lewis, more than tripled its high estimate to sell for $47,500 to a collector. The iconic drypoint Bedford Street Gang, 1935, sold for $25,000, a record for the work. Swann currently holds the record for any work by the artist.
The important Benton Spruance lithograph Riders of the Apocalypse, 1943, warning of the destructive tendencies of modern man, was purchased by a collector for $27,500.
Todd Weyman, Vice President of Swann and Director of Prints & Drawings, said of the sale, “The market for nineteenth- and twentieth-century works continues to expand, as it appeals to both seasoned collectors and those who are newly entering the market. Works by American artists continue to impress, with outstanding results for Hopper, Lewis and Spruance. The growth of the Latin American market has been exceptional, with record-setting prices for Rivera, and promising results for artists new to Swann, like Oscar Niemeyer and Romeo Tabuena.”
The next auction of Prints & Drawings at Swann Galleries will be Old Master Through Modern Prints on May 8, 2018. The house is currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.
Image: Lot 145: Edward Hopper, House by a River, etching, 1919. Sold March 13, 2018 for $100,000.