American Art comes to Swann Galleries on June 14 with a highly curated offering of original works by artists living or working in the United States. The nearly 300 paintings, drawings and sculptures, encompassing the middle of the nineteenth century to the present, are expected to exceed $1.6M. Many have never before appeared at auction.
The auction will feature a strong section of works by PaJaMa, the artist collective consisting of Paul Cadmus, Jared French and Margaret Hoening French. Many of these works, from the collection of Jon Anderson and Philis Raskind-Anderson, are portraits by the members of one another and their partners and friends. For example, Cadmus drew Jon Anderson #1, 1965, and Portrait of Margaret French, 1944 ($15,000 to $20,000 and $8,000 to $12,000, respectively), and Jared French drew him in Portrait of Paul Cadmus, 1931, which is estimated at $7,000 to $10,000.
Jared French is additionally represented by Men in a Garden, circa 1934-35, a verdant oil painting of a semi-nude fête, carrying an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. Three-dimensional works by French will also be offered: a circa 1935 marble carving entitled Etruscan Man, and a plaster bust of the photographer George Platt Lynes, circa 1940 ($3,000 to $4,000 and $40,000 to $5,000, respectively).
Nineteenth-century works shine in a variety of media, with highlights including Head of a Young Girl, circa 1875-78, a pencil drawing by John Singer Sargent. The sketch illustrates the artist’s mastery of color, form and light, and comes with an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. An autumnal canvas by Worthington Whittredge of a River Landscape with Sailboat, is valued at $20,000 to $30,000. Paintings of the west include a landscape by William Bradford of Inspiration Point, Yosemite, 1879, a clement change from the Arctic vistas for which he is known ($15,000 to $20,000), and Joseph Henry Sharp’s oil painting Still Life with Poppies, 1890, at $10,000 to $15,000.
Early American Modernists present a strong selection of harbingers of movements to come. A charcoal and pencil drawing by Joseph Stella, The Sewing Lesson, 1908, previously exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1994, was likely part of a commissioned series representing the immigrant communities of industrial Pittsburgh. At $20,000 to $30,000, it leads a selection of drawings by Stella, as well as a collage. Nine watercolors by Charles Burchfield will be offered, following the house’s success in June 2017, when all offered paintings by the artist were sold. These are led by Brook, 1916, with an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. Bathers, an elegant circa 1910 painting by Abraham Walkowitz, embodies his mature style; it is valued between $5,000 to $8,000.
John Steuart Curry, known primarily for his forceful Regionalist prints, returns to the theme of the American heartland in an oil painting titled Plowing Before a Storm, circa 1935. The work, valued between $15,000 and $20,000, is one of few paintings in the artist’s oeuvre. From his circle, Thomas Hart Benton and Rockwell Kent will be represented by sketches and watercolors.
Following Swann’s offering of works from his personal collection in 2017, Will Barnet will be represented in this auction by a sketch of Boy and Cat, 1984 ($5,000 to $8,000), and an oil painting of a Park Scene, 1937, most likely in New York’s Central Park, at $7,000 to $10,000.
Joseph Cornell’s Untitled, a circa 1960 collage for the avant-garde artist Kasoundra Kasoundra, featuring a silhouette of Don Quixote and a macaw, carries an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000.
Contemporary works include a striking landscape painting by Wolf Kahn titled Poisonous Yellow-Green, 2001, with an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. Four canvases by Leonard E. Fisher include his signature floating objects motif, intended to evoke hope and gaiety. The patriotic The 4th of July, 2014, leads the pack at $10,000 to $15,000, while the 1996 Bubbles is valued at $8,000 to $12,000.
Sketchbooks by Peggy Bacon, Rockwell Kent, Henry Varnum Poor, Fairfield Porter and Mahonri Young offer insight into the minds and processes of the artists.
The complete catalogue with bidding information is available at www.swanngalleries.com.
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Swann Auction Galleries, New York