Black Art Auction Host Historic Auction Of African American Fine Art May 16

BLACK ART AUCTION is the only auction house in the world solely dedicated to selling African American Fine Art.

Alma Thomas, Untitled, 1972, watercolor on paper, 7 x 11 1/8″

Black Art Auction, the only auction house in the world solely dedicated to selling African American fine art, will host their inaugural auction on May 16 at 12 pm in Indianapolis. The sale will include more than 100 lots of historically significant works by African American artists, spanning three centuries, in mediums including painting, sculpture, assemblage, photography, printmaking, and ceramics. 

Black Art Auction is owned and operated by Thom Pegg. Pegg is the owner of Tyler Fine Art in St Louis, Missouri, and has maintained a gallery there for the past 30 years. He has also been sole owner, or a part owner of galleries in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Indianapolis. He has been involved in the fine art auction business for 25 years, directing specialty auctions of African American art with houses including Toomey (Chicago), Treadway (Cincinnati), Heritage (Dallas), and Ripley (Indianapolis) for the last eight years.  

Hunting in the woods by Robert Scott Duncanson

The earliest work included in the auction is a landscape with Native Americans painted in 1846 by Robert Scott Duncanson. Most recently seen in the exhibition Robert S. Duncanson: The Spiritual Striving of the Freedman’s Son, the work is expected to sell for $40,000-$60,000. 

While the depth and breadth of all the art works for auction are extensive, other highlights include: 

Virgin Mary in Meditation, by Henry Ossawa Tanner, painted circa 1905, with an estimate of $45,000-$65,000. 

A rare work on paper by William H. Johnson, Bazaars Behind Church of Our Savior, 1935.  This woodcut print with watercolor added depicts a famous scene in Oslo, Norway, where the artist lived. It is expected to bring between $20,000- $30,000. 

A John Biggers drawing, Cloth Traders, 1958. Done shortly after the artist’s return from Ghana, the 40″ x 59″ piece has a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-$70,000.

John Biggers drawing, Cloth Traders, 1958

Two outstanding mid-century figurative works included in the auction are Hughie Lee-Smith’s Rooftops, 1961, and Beauford Delaney’s Portrait of a Young Man, Larry Calcagno, 1953.

Works by Elizabeth Catlett including a drawing, a sculpture, and prints of various types are included, among them Catlett’s iconic linocut, Sharecropper, 1970, estimated to fetch between $22,000-$28,000. 

Augusta Savage, Gamin

The auction offers a varying selection of sculpture. Three works by Augusta Savage are included; Gamin (est. $15,000- $20,000),  The Harp, Lift Every Voice (est. $10,000-$15,000), and the rare, Boy with Rabbit (est. $30,000-$50,000). 

Several works by Richmond Barthe are available, including The Seeker, Inner Music, and Paul Robeson as Othello. Works by Beulah Woodard include Bad Boy, a bronze head of a boy executed in 1936-37 (est. $15,000- $25,000) and Young Boy (Chuck), a painted clay bust, formerly in the collection of the Golden State Mutual Insurance Collection (est. $15,000-$25,000). The sale also includes a full figure bronze by Margaret Burroughs, wire sculpture by “the master of stabile,” Hayward Oubre, and an Oaxacan clay figure of a girl with braids by Sargent Johnson. 

The work of AfriCobra artists include paintings and prints by Wadsworth Jarrell, Jeff Donaldson, and Nelson Stevens. The Jocks #2 by Jarrell measures 48″ x 68,” painted in 1981is estimated to sell between $50,000-$70,000. There are two works by Barkley Hendricks in the auction, an oil landscape in tondo, titled, Lover’s Leap (Porch View), 12″ diameter, estimated at $25,000- $35,000 and a photograph from 1973, Betty Mars, Casablanca, Morocco (est. $10,000-$15,000). 

Abstracts by African American artists Alma Thomas, Sam Gilliam, and Norman Lewis are also in the auction.  From Thomas there is an acrylic on paper, painted in 1976, est. $100,000-150,000. A double-sided watercolor from 1967 est. $65,000-$85,000 and a watercolor sketch est. at $40,000-$60,000. 

Sam Gilliam, Patch Leaf, 1973

Sam Gilliam’s Patch Leaf, a large acrylic and fabric painting, approximately 65″ in diameter is expected to sell for $300,000-$400,000. A watercolor and pigment on manipulated paper, asymmetrical in shape, and executed circa 1970, is expected to reach $20,000-$30,000. 

An oil on paper from the Sea Change series by Norman Lewis, painted in 1976 size 20″ x 25″ is estimated at $25,000-$35,000. Lewis’ intaglio, The Red Umbrella, is also being sold (est. $5,000-$7,000). 

The auction also includes an excellent selection of prints by artists Charles White, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Eldzier Cortor, John Wilson, Kerry James Marshall, Dox Thrash, Mavis Pusey, Varnette Honeywood, Elizabeth Catlett, Howardena Pindell, Betye Saar, William T. Williams, John Biggers, Mel Edwards, E.J. Montgomery, and James L. Wells. 

To preview the entire catalogue. Interested parties may bid in person, by phone, online or via the Black Art Auction mobile app, or you may place an absentee bid directly through Black Art AuctionRegistration and a credit card are required. 

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