Two-Day Auction of 19th & 20th-Century Prints & Drawings at Swann Galleries


New York—Every fall, Swann Galleries kicks off their auction season with a sale of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings. This year, the auction was so rich in quality material the sale was extended to two days—September 23 & 24—to accommodate.

The auction will open the morning of September 23 with more than 200 lots of 19th-century prints and drawings including a run of works by James A.M. Whistler, such as The Courtyard, Brussels, etching, 1887, which is one of only seven known impressions (estimate: $25,000 to $35,000); Fanny Leyland, drypoint, 1874, a portrait of the daughter of Frederick Richards Leyland, a prominent patron of Whistler’s—indeed, the one who commissioned Whistler's famous Peacock Room now at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC ($20,000 to $30,000) and The Rialto, etching and drypoint, 1879-80, from his set of Twenty-Six Etchings of Venice ($15,000 to $20,000).

Nineteenth-century highlights by other artists are Edgar Degas’s Au Salon, monotype, second pull, circa 1879 ($30,000 to $50,000); Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Femme en Corset--Conquète de Passage, color crayon, brush and splatter lithograph with scraper, 1896 ($20,000 to $30,000); Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Le Chapeau Epinglé (1e planche), lithograph, 1897, from an edition of 100 printed in black, aside from the editions printed in sanguine and brown ($15,000 to $20,000); Paul Signac’s Saint-Tropez--Le Port, color lithograph on Chine volant, 1897-98 ($15,000 to $20,000); and Camille Pissarro’s Mendiantes, color drypoint and etching, circa 1894 ($12,000 to $18,000).


The American prints and drawings portion of the auction is particularly strong with excellent Regionalist prints including an extensive collection of Thomas Hart Benton lithographs, among them The Race, 1942, based on the same-titled oil painting of a lone horse racing a steam engine across a barren Midwestern prairie ($12,000 to $18,000); Wreck of the Ol' 97, 1944, depicting the derailment of the Southern Railway locomotive ($12,000 to $18,000); as well as drawings by Benton, including a Self-Portrait, lithographic crayon on paper, circa 1940, a gift from the artist to writer Selden Rodman ($5,000 to $8,000).

Another notable drawing is Reginald Marsh’s White Tower Hamburger, Doyers Street, New York City, brush and black ink and wash on paper, once in the collection of Art Students League instructor Barbara Adrian ($30,000 to $50,000).

There are select New York City drypoints by Martin Lewis, including Shadow Dance, 1930, in which Lewis captures the summer sun setting across the Hudson River forming in the long shadows of figures walking across Park Avenue, and the wintry Stoops in the Snow, 1930 ($20,000 to $30,000 each); as well as Rafael Soyer’s early lithograph The Mission, 1933 ($12,000 to $18,000); and Blanche Lazzell’s vibrant color woodcut Tulips, on Japan paper, 1920, from an edition of approximately 11, created in Provincetown, Massachusetts ($30,000 to $50,000).

A separate section of fine prints and original works by modern European masters is scheduled for the morning of September 24th. Headlining is a fine selection of more than 75 master prints by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse from 1900 to 1970.

Among the Picassos are his 1962 color linoleum cut Jacqueline au Bandeau de Face (Grand Tête de Femme), a large and striking portrait of the artist’s second wife ($120,000 to $180,000); La Femme à la Résille (Femme aux Cheveux verts), color lithograph, 1949, depicting Françoise Gilot, Picasso's lover and muse from 1944 to 1953, with green hair ($80,000 to $120,000); and La Pique, linoleum cut printed in red and yellow, 1959 ($40,000 to $60,000).

Matisse, a prolific printmaker, moved freely between various techniques and used each as an extension of his drawing style and process. Fine examples in the auction include Henri Matisse gravant, drypoint, 1900-03, an extremely scarce early self-portrait, which was also the artist’s first intaglio print ($25,000 to $35,000); Figure endormie aux babouches, lithograph, 1929 ($20,000 to $30,000); and Bedouine, Figure aux bandeaux, aquatint on Chine collé, 1947 ($15,000 to $20,000).

Other modern European works of note are Max Beckmann’s Die Nacht, lithograph on imitation Japan paper, 1919, based on his painting of the same subject, which is now in the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen museum in Düsseldorf ($70,000 to $100,000); Louis Marcoussis’s very scarce Cubist Portrait de Guillaume Apollinaire, etching and drypoint, 1912-20 ($40,000 to $60,000); a brilliant impression of Fernand Léger’s Le Vase, his first color lithograph, 1927 ($30,000 to $50,000); and several fine color lithographs by Marc Chagall, among them his after print Romeo and Juliet, 1964, with vibrant colors, from his collaboration with master-printer Charles Sorlier of the Atelier Mourlot, Paris ($30,000 to $50,000).

The first session of the auction (19th Century Prints & Drawings) will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 23. The sale will continue after a lunch break at 1:30 p.m. with American Prints & Drawings. The following morning at 10:30 we will offer Modern European Prints & Drawings. The works will be on public exhibition on Thurs., September 18 and Fri., September 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat., September 20, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Mon., September 22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $40 in the U.S./ $50 elsewhere from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Todd Weyman at (212) 254-4710, extension 32, or via e-mail at

Live online bidding is also available via

First image: Pablo Picasso, La Femme à la Résille (Femme aux Cheveux verts), color lithograph, 1949 (estimate: $80,000 to $120,000).

Second image: Thomas Hart Benton, Wreck of the Ol' 97, 1944. (Estimate: $12,000 to $18,000).