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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Where to find Beauford's Art: Swann Galleries

Swann Galleries launched its African-American Fine Art department in 2007. It is the only major auction house conducting regular sales of African-American fine art today. The works that it sells are consigned by individuals, libraries, schools, museums, and dealers the world over.

Since 2007, Swann Galleries has put twenty-eight (28) of Beauford’s paintings up for auction. Over 60% of them sold, with prices ranging from $8,400 to $102,000. Here are a few images of works that sold:

Street Sweeper (Le Balayeur)
(1968) Oil on canvas
Photo courtesy of Swann Galleries

Swann Galleries describes this painting as “poetic and modernist,” and says that it is a “culmination of Beauford Delaney's important work in both figurative and abstract painting in Paris, and an outstanding example of his later work.” The author of this description considered that Beauford portrayed himself metaphorically in this work as “an isolated man of African descent working in a foreign place, with the broom representing the artist's paint brush.”

Street Sweeper (Le Balayeur) was auctioned in February 2011. The sale price was $96,000.

The painting below was auctioned this month (October 2011). It sold for $9600.

Untitled (Gray, Red and Yellow Abstraction)
(1962) Gouache and watercolor on cream wove paper
Photo courtesy of Swann Galleries

Swann Galleries' Web site indicates that the auction house acquired this work directly from Beauford’s brother, Joseph. The date of acquisition was not mentioned.

The work below is an abstract expressionist painting in which Beauford’s favorite color – yellow – predominates. The sale value from its auction in February 2008 was $102,000.

(ca. 1958) Oil on canvas
Photo courtesy of Swann Galleries

Additional images of the Beauford Delaney paintings auctioned by Swann Galleries can be found on their Web site. Look for them in the online auction catalogs for February 2007, February 2008, February 2009, February 2010, October 2010, February 2011, and October 2011. In addition, see the catalog for an auction held in June 2010 entitled Out of the Blue: Modern Art and Jazz, where Beauford’s Untitled (Composition in Blue) sold for $19,200.

The prices that you see will see in the catalogs for the works discussed above are lower than those quoted in this article. Swann Galleries' Hillary Brody explained why:

At auction, there are two prices--the hammer price, or the price at which the item sells during the auction, and the price with the buyer's premium. All auction houses have a buyer's premium that the buyer pays to the auction house on top of the hammer price. Swann's premium is 20%.

Swann Galleries reports the "hammer price" for each painting in its catalogs, while prices that include the buyer's premium can be found on its sales results page.

Swann Galleries’ African-American Fine Art auctions are generally held in February and October of each year. Items that are up for sale can be viewed at the auction house for several days prior to each auction. The auction house encourages any and all interested parties to come to their facility to visit the preview exhibitions.

Swann Galleries
104 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
Telephone: 212-254-4710

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