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Exploring art by and about people of African descent, primarily through the lens of books, magazines and catalogs, Culture Type features original research and reporting and shares invaluable interestingness culled from the published record on black art.

Auctions
Phillips: Recent Contemporary Auctions Include New Records for African American Artists Stanley Whitney and Hugo McCloud; Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Among Top Lots

Phillips: Recent Contemporary Auctions Include New Records for African American Artists Stanley Whitney and Hugo McCloud; Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Among Top Lots

Lot 148: LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE, “The Separate,” 2011 (oil on canvas, 160 x 200 cm, 63 x 78 3/4 inches). | Estimate £100,000-£150,000. Sold for £237,000 ($327,629) including fees. TOP TEN LOT: Ranked No. 5 in results   A NUMBER OF WORKS BY AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTISTS stood out at Phillips contemporary art sales in London last...
Record-Setting African American Art Auction Gives Swann Galleries Highest-Ever Sales Total in Company History

Record-Setting African American Art Auction Gives Swann Galleries Highest-Ever Sales Total in Company History

BEAUFORD DELANEY, “Untitled (Village Street Scene),” 1948   APPLAUSE SWEPT THROUGH THE SALESROOM when a colorful mid-career canvas by Norman Lewis soared to $725,000*, three times the estimate. Bidders also clapped when a village street scene painted by Beauford Delaney (above) and “O Freedom,” a large-scale charcoal and crayon drawing by Charles White reached half...
Early Work by Njideka Akunyili Crosby Tops Sotheby's Second Sale Devoted to African Modern & Contemporary Art

Early Work by Njideka Akunyili Crosby Tops Sotheby’s Second Sale Devoted to African Modern & Contemporary Art

AN ANDY-WARHOL-STYLE PORTRAIT made by Njideka Akunyili Crosby while she was in graduate school sold for more than twice its estimate at Sotheby’s London this week. The auction house held its second sale dedicated to Modern & Contemporary African Art on March 28, and “À La Warhol,” a four-image self-portrait by the Nigerian-born, Los Angeles-based...
Sotheby's Contemporary Auctions: Exploring Tension Between Security and Exclusion, Hurvin Anderson Painting Tops $1 Million

Sotheby’s Contemporary Auctions: Exploring Tension Between Security and Exclusion, Hurvin Anderson Painting Tops $1 Million

Lot 11: HURVIN ANDERSON, “Some People (Welcome Series),” 2004 (oil on canvas, 150 by 232 cm. 59 by 91 3/8 inches). | Estimate £600,000—£800,000 ($832,560-$1,110,080). | Sold for £850,000 ($1,179,460) Hammer Price – £1,029,000 GBP ($1,427,840) including fees   A SIGNIFICANT PAINTING by Hurvin Anderson topped $1 million at Sotheby’s London on March 7. A...
Auction Record: Lorna Simpson 'Cloud' Work Sets New Benchmark for the Artist

Auction Record: Lorna Simpson ‘Cloud’ Work Sets New Benchmark for the Artist

LORNA SIMPSON, “Cloud,” 2005.   FEATURING AN ICONIC CLOUD ELEMENT, a major work by Lorna Simpson sold for $70,000 ($87,500 including fees) at Sotheby’s New York earlier this month. The price was an artist record, according Ask Art, Art Price, and Sotheby’s auction results. “Cloud,” a 2005 serigraph printed on felt in nine parts was...
The Broad Acquires Mark Bradford's Record-Setting 'Helter Skelter I,' Along with Works by Julie Mehretu, Kerry James Marshall

The Broad Acquires Mark Bradford’s Record-Setting ‘Helter Skelter I,’ Along with Works by Julie Mehretu, Kerry James Marshall

Detail of Mark Bradford’s “Helter Skelter I” (2007).   ART MARKET HISTORY WAS MADE earlier this month when “Helter Skelter I,” a monumental painting by Mark Bradford sold for $10.4 million (nearly $12 million, including fees) at Phillips London. The price was the highest-ever achieved at auction for a work by a living African American...
Auction Record: 1968 Beveled-Edge Painting Sets New High Mark for Sam Gilliam

Auction Record: 1968 Beveled-Edge Painting Sets New High Mark for Sam Gilliam

Detail of SAM GILLIAM, Untitled, 1968 featured in Contemporary Curated at Sotheby’s New York, March 2, 2018   FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY, Sam Gilliam he has had a relatively successful practice by any measure with critical recognition, regular exhibitions, and representation in museum collections. Known for his expressive abstraction and fluid use of...
Prominent Artists Are Donating Their Works to Help Support Studio Museum in Harlem's Building Project

Prominent Artists Are Donating Their Works to Help Support Studio Museum in Harlem’s Building Project

Clockwise, from top left, Sam Gilliam, Lorna Simpson, Mark Bradford, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Glenn Ligon Julie Mehretu, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Rashid Johnson. | via Sotheby’s   ARTISTS WITH CLOSE TIES to the Studio Museum in Harlem are donating works to support the historic institution’s construction campaign. Creating Space: Artists for The Studio Museum in Harlem:...
Mark Bradford 'Helter Skelter' Painting Sells for $10.4 Million, Highest-Ever Auction Price for Work by Living African American Artist

Mark Bradford ‘Helter Skelter’ Painting Sells for $10.4 Million, Highest-Ever Auction Price for Work by Living African American Artist

MARK BRADFORD, Detail of “Helter Skelter I,” 2007   A MONUMENTAL PAINTING by Mark Bradford reached a historic benchmark at Phillips London on March 8. “Helter Skelter I” sold for about $10.4 million (nearly $12 million, including fees), an artist record, and the highest-ever auction price achieved by a living African American artist, based on...
Hale Woodruff and Jacob Lawrence Offer Insights About African and African American Art in 1955 Letters to a College Student

Hale Woodruff and Jacob Lawrence Offer Insights About African and African American Art in 1955 Letters to a College Student

From left, Artists Hale Woodruff and Jacob Lawrence.   GATHERING RESEARCH FOR HER THESIS, a white North Carolina college student wrote to African American artists Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) and Hale Woodruff (1900-1980) more than six decades ago. She sought Lawrence’s view on the influence of Negro artists on American painting and, from Woodruff, insights about...
Auction Results: A Review of African American Art Featured in Sotheby's Fall 2017 Contemporary Auctions—Several Never Exhibited, Unseen For Decades

Auction Results: A Review of African American Art Featured in Sotheby’s Fall 2017 Contemporary Auctions—Several Never Exhibited, Unseen For Decades

  IN ANTICIPATION OF THE SPRING 2018 SALES at major auction houses in London this month, Culture Type is taking a look back at recent results at Sotheby’s. One of the benefits of observing auctions is the opportunity see works long held in private hands away from public view. The November 2017 Contemporary Day and...
Auction Record: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Painting Sells for More Than $1.5 million at Sotheby's, Shattering Artist's Previous High Mark

Auction Record: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Painting Sells for More Than $1.5 million at Sotheby’s, Shattering Artist’s Previous High Mark

“The Hours Behind You” (2011) by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye   A MESMERIZING IMAGE of five black women attracted record-breaking interest at Sotheby’s New York on Nov. 16. “The Hours Behind You” (2011) by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye sold for $1,575,000 (including fees), a world record for the British-Ghanaian painter, according to Sotheby’s sales results. Estimated to attract bids...
Auction Record: Kerry James Marshall's Imaginative Portrait of Harriet Tubman Reaches $5 million at Christie's New York

Auction Record: Kerry James Marshall’s Imaginative Portrait of Harriet Tubman Reaches $5 million at Christie’s New York

  A TENDER AND REVOLUTIONARY PORTRAIT of Harriet Tubman by Kerry James Marshall sold for more than $5 million last night at Christie’s New York. Titled “Still Life with Wedding Portrait,” the painting depicts the abolitionist posing with her first husband John Tubman. Interest in the 2015 painting far exceeded its $1 million to $1.5...
Auction Record: 2009 Painting by Titus Kaphar Sets New Benchmark at Phillips New York

Auction Record: 2009 Painting by Titus Kaphar Sets New Benchmark at Phillips New York

  A SCULPTURAL PAINTING by Titus Kaphar set an artist record today. “Tina Vesper,” a portrait of a Reconstruction-era woman who could pass for white, is partially shrouded with un-stretched canvas. The 2009 painting sold for $40,000 (including fees) at Phillips 20th Century and Contemporary Art Day Sale in New York, exceeding its estimate of...