Just a quick round-up of recent sales of works by black photographers that came to auction.
At the April 7, 2016 Swann Galleries auction of African-American Fine Art, Carrie Mae Weem’s Blue Black Boy was sold for $40,000 (hammer price), the low estimate for this lot. From the Colored People series, the work consists of a triptych of three toned gelatin silver prints with text and frame, dated 1987-88. This work is part of an edition of 3. The artist printed a single image of this work in an edition of 5 in 1997, an example of which sold at Sotheby’s April 1, 2015 for $25,000.
I like to see examples of artist portraits of other artists. This portrait photograph of Maya Angelou is particularly striking and fetched an impressive sale price of $ 14,000 (hammer price), 14 times the low estimate. The work was sold at the September 15, 2015 sale of The Art Collection of Maya Angelou at Swann Galleries. Photographed by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, the 1993 silver print is hand colored measuring 10 x 10 1/2 inches.
American Gothic, one of Gordon Park’s most famous images, sold at Be-Hold, October 22, 2015 for $ 2,600. The 1942 image was printed in 1991 and measures 10 x 7 1/8 inches on a 13 x 11 inch sheet. The photograph sold above its high estimate.
In this lecture by Carrie Mae Weems she discusses her career and body of work, spanning thirty years. The talk took place on September 12, 2015 and is part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel lecture series at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Phillips is holding two photography auctions in October that feature the work of Chester Higgins, James VanderZee, and Carrie Mae Weems. Both auctions take place on October 1st in New York.
In the Photographs auction, Weems is featured in three black & white prints from the Kitchen Table Series, 1990s. Lots 284, 286 and 287 have estimates starting at $ 3,000 to $ 25,000. Weems is featured in each photograph. Print sizes are from 19 x 18 7/8 to 26 7/8 x 26 7/8 inches.
Chester Higgins’ Muslim Woman, 1990, is estimated at $ 7,000 – 9,000 in the same auction.
In Photographs from the Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, James VanderZee’sPortrait of a Harlem Preacher, Daddy Grace, 1938 and Untitled (young black woman with studio background), 1931 are featured in Lot 21. The two silver gelatin prints are signed and dated or stamped in ink on the recto: G.G.G. Photo Studio, Inc. The print is estimated at $ 2,000 – 3,000.
The transformation of photography in the last decades is nothing short of revolutionary — and has been driven largely by the marketplace in art photography that began in the 1970s. This panel [presented at the April 2013 Association of International Photography Art Dealers show in New York City] explores the 40-year-old photo market with leading experts.
Speakers: Catherine Edelman, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago; Celso Gonzalez-Falla, chairman of the board, Aperture Foundation; Duane Michals, artist; Susanna Wenniger, senior specialist, photography, Artnet. Moderator is Jill Arnold, director, business development, AXA Art Insurance Corporation.