New York— On Thursday, March 2, Swann Galleries’ sale of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings exceeded $3M and broke ten auction records. The house, which is celebrating it diamond anniversary this year, has enjoyed several record-breaking sales already in their spring 2017 season.
The rare deluxe edition of Marc Chagall’s 1948 portfolio Four Tales from the Arabian Nights, of which only 11 were printed, topped the sale. The set belonged to the publisher of Pantheon Books, Kurt Wolff. The vibrant color lithographs include the 13th plate denoting the deluxe edition; still in the original case, the set sold to a collector for $269,000*.
Early twentieth-century American prints saw competitive bidding and high prices. Edward Hopper’s rare 1921 etching Evening Wind sold for $149,000, nearly doubling its high estimate of $80,000. The American master was also represented in the sale by the 1921 etching Night Shadows, which went for $33,800. A premiere selection of prints by Hopper’s mentor Martin Lewis was led by the extremely rare aquatint Which Way?, 1932, which was purchased for $42,500, a record for the work. Further highlights by Lewis included the 1929 drypoint Bay Windows and 1916’s etching The Orator, Madison Square, each of which went for $27,500.
Another highlight of the sale was Männlicher Akt (Selbstbildnis I), 1912, Egon Schiele’s first attempt at a printed self-portrait; the work brought $30,000. A 1914 drypoint by the artist, Kümmernis, was purchased for $15,000.
Orologi Molli, a watercolor by Salvador Dalí featuring one of his famous melting clocks, surpassed its high estimate to sell for $112,500. Another original, a pen and ink drawing by Paul Klee of prancing bulls, titled Drama in der Kuhwelt, 1915, reached $25,000.
All four offered works by Mary Cassatt found buyers, including the rare circa-1902 drypoint Crocheting Lessons, which sold for $27,500. Another Cassatt, the color drypoint and soft-ground etching The Coiffure, circa 1891, broke its previous auction record to sell for $81,250.
Etchings made by James A.M. Whistler during a 1879-80 trip to Venice performed well, including the luminous Upright Venice, at $70,000. Two further prints from the same period each broke their previous auction records: The Garden reached $70,000, while San Biagio sold for $62,500.
The complete set of 14 lithographs in Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s Mélodies de Désiré Dihau, 1895, was sold for $30,000, a record for the work. The set was previously in the collection of Eric Carlson.
Todd Weyman, Director of Prints & Drawings, said of the sale, “This has been one of our strongest sales to date in terms of bidder registration. We are pleased with the continued growth in our dynamic market.”
The next sale of Prints & Drawings at Swann Galleries will be Old Master Through Modern Prints on May 2, 2017. For more information, contact Todd Weyman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image: Lot 551 Marc Chagall, Four Tales from the Arabian Nights, complete deluxe portfolio with 13 color lithographs, 1948. Sold March 2, 2017 for $269,000. (Pre-sale estimate: $250,000 to $350,000)