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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Beauford at the Fall 2012 African-American Fine Art Auction

Swann Galleries held its semi-annual African-American Fine Art auction on Thursday, 18 October 2012.  Among the 154 works offered for sale were two Beauford Delaney paintings. The first (Lot 67) is a vibrantly multi-colored abstract:

 Untitled (Rainbow Abstraction)
(1962) Watercolor and gouache on paper
Photo courtesy of Swann Galleries

It measures 495 x 654 mm / 19.5 x 25.75 inches and is signed and dated in ink in the lower right corner.  It comes from a private New York collection.

The estimated sale price for this painting was $10,000-15,000.  

The second painting (Lot 68) is an unusual abstract dominated by the color pink:

Untitled (Pink Abstract)
(1964) Watercolor on Arches paper
Photo courtesy of Swann Galleries

It measures 572 x 394 mm / 22.5 x 15.5 inches and is signed, inscribed "Paris," and dated "July 1964" in blue ink in the lower right corner.

This piece originates from the collection of Al Hirschfeld, a friend and patron of Beauford who partly funded Beauford's first trip to Paris.  It was acquired by Phillipe Briet in 1989, who gave it to a dear friend in 1991.

The estimated sale price for this work was $8,000-12,000.

Untitled (Pink Abstract) sold for $8,400, inclusive of Buyer's Premium.* Untitled (Rainbow Abstract) was not purchased during the auction.

I spoke briefly with Nigel Freeman, director of Swann's African-American Fine Art auction, about this.  He indicated that each work put up for auction has an unpublicized reserve price, below which the work will not sell.  Sometimes, when more than one work by an artist is being auctioned during a given sale, buyers focus more attention on acquiring a particular one.  This may result in insufficient bidding on the other works so that their reserve price is not met.

This may have been what occurred during Thursday's sale.

*Buyer's Premium - the fee that the auction house charges in addition to the actual price of the painting.  Swann Galleries charges 20% of the sale price as a premium. 

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