New York—Swann Galleries’ season-opening auction of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings on September 20 brings to market original works by blue-chip artists and scarce prints by Regionalists, German Expressionists, Modernists and more.
The cover lot for the auction, Downtown, New York, by John Taylor Arms, comes from a private collection of iconic New York City views (estimate $2,000-3,000). A showcase of architectural splendor, the run features early twentieth-century etchings of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Flatiron Building, elevated trains and waterways. Among unusual examples is Kerr Eby’s scarce view of the Singer Building, circa 1930, which was razed in the late 1960s. The etching shows the now-forgotten building swathed in fog ($1,200-1,800). Other artists in the collection are Armin Landeck, John Marin, Joseph Pennell and John Sloan.
Further American works include several luminous color woodcuts: Blanche Lazzell’s Tulips, 1920 ($15,000-20,000); Edna Boies Hopkins Cineraria (Anemones; Purple Zinnias), 1915-17 ($10,000-15,000); and Bror J. O. Nordfeldt’s Three Travelers Crossing a Bridge in the Snow, 1906 ($2,000-3,000). Grant Wood’s lithograph Sultry Night, 1939, stands out among Regionalist prints ($15,000-20,000).
Several watercolors by Thomas Rowlandson are led by James Christie’s Auction Rooms, circa 1810, a variant of a similar work held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image of a packed salesroom replete with periwigs and tricorn caps is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000. Other nineteenth-century highlights include Honoré Daumier’s Les Gens de Justice, with 38 lithographs, 1848, the master caricaturist’s satirization of corrupt lawyers and judges ($30,000-50,000). A run of scarce prints and drawings by Camille Pissarro features Maison avec Palmiers, watercolor and pencil, circa 1852-54 ($15,000-20,000).
European originals include the delicate Jeune Fille Accroupie by Aristide Maillol, and a chalk drawing of a tall, fashionable woman in profile by Gustav Klimt ($1,000-1,500 and $20,000-30,000, respectively). A run of antiquity-inspired works by Georges Braque is led by the 1925 brush-and-ink Portrait d’une femme ($20,000-30,000). A colorful watercolor by Man Ray, Sans titre (Trois Arbres), 1913, reflects the artist’s early work likely inspired by the inaugural Armory Show in New York that same year ($15,000-20,000).
A strong selection of German Expressionist works includes Lyonel Feininger’s Dorfkirche, watercolor, pen and ink, 1954 ($12,000-18,000) and scarce prints by Käthe Kollwitz, Max Beckmann, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.
The top lot of the sale is Pablo Picasso’s Grand nu Dansant, color linoleum cut, 1962 ($40,000-60,000). Edvard Munch’s 1899 color woodcut of a curvy, smiling sex worker in a dim interior relates to his painting Rose and Amelie, in the Oslo Munch museum ($30,000-50,000). Highlights among fine prints by Marc Chagall are Les Adolescents, 1975, and Femme du Peintre, 1971 ($25,000-35,000 and $30,000-50,000, respectively).
Image: Lot 308: John Taylor Arms, Downtown, New York, aquatint and etching, 1921. Estimate $2,000-3,000.