Welcome to Culture Type!

An exploration of black art through vintage and contemporary books, magazines and catalogs, Culture Type shares invaluable interestingness culled from the published record on black art.
Auctions
Bringing Attention to Wide Selection African American Artists Since 2007, Swann Marks Decade of Sales with 8 Auction Records

Bringing Attention to Wide Selection African American Artists Since 2007, Swann Marks Decade of Sales with 8 Auction Records

Lot 112: ALVIN D. LOVING JR. (1935-2006), “Untitled,” 1968 (diptych of acrylic on shaped cotton canvas). | Estimate $80,000-$120,000. Sold for $130,000 / $161,000 (including fees). RECORD   KNOWN FOR THEIR UNIQUE APPROACHES to abstraction, painters Alvin D. Loving Jr. (1935-2005) and Frank Bowling reached new benchmarks at Swann Auction Galleries last month. A geometric...
A 'Passionate Experimentalist,' Painter Phillip J. Hampton Began His Career as a Trailblazer

A ‘Passionate Experimentalist,’ Painter Phillip J. Hampton Began His Career as a Trailblazer

Lot 38: PHILLIP HAMPTON, “Untitled,” (mixed-media, watercolor and enamel on illustration board). | Estimate $2,000-$3,000. Sold for $2,000 including fees   A SHORT MENTION in the May 22, 1952, edition of Jet magazine documents a historic first. The headline reads: “Missouri Art School Graduates First Negro MA.” The pathbreaker was Phillip J. Hampton (1922-2016), an...
In Response to Exponential Increase in Market Demand, Sotheby's Announces Its First-Ever Contemporary African Art Sale

In Response to Exponential Increase in Market Demand, Sotheby’s Announces Its First-Ever Contemporary African Art Sale

Lot 2: CHÉRI SAMBA (b. 1956), “Une Vie Ratée ( A Successful Life), 1995 (acrylic on canvas). | Estimate $24,676-$37,014   SOTHEBY’S IS HOLDING ITS FIRST-EVER modern and contemporary African art sale May 16 in London. Featuring more than 60 artists from 14 countries, the selection includes global art stars El Anatsui (Ghana), Yinka Shonibare...
Auction Results: New Records Set for Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Henry Taylor, and Alma Thomas, Compelling Works by El Anatsui Among Many Others by Black Artists Sold Too

Auction Results: New Records Set for Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Henry Taylor, and Alma Thomas, Compelling Works by El Anatsui Among Many Others by Black Artists Sold Too

ACROSS THE UNITED STATES and in London, auctions of post-war, modern and contemporary art were held at the end of February and early March. Records were set in Los Angeles, where an Alma Thomas painting was offered, and London where Henry Taylor and Njideka Akunyili Crosby achieved new benchmarks. Auction values for Nigerian-born, Los Angeles-based...
Njideka Akunyili Crosby Painting Sells for Record $3.1 Million at Christie's, Nearly Three Times Her Previous High Mark

Njideka Akunyili Crosby Painting Sells for Record $3.1 Million at Christie’s, Nearly Three Times Her Previous High Mark

Lot 3: NJIDEKA AKUNYILI CROSBY, “The Beautyful Ones,” 2012 (acrylic, pastel, colour pencil and Xerox transfer on paper). | Estimate $488,800-$733,200. Sold for $3,075,774 (including fees). RECORD   ONLY THREE WORKS by Njideka Akunyili Crosby have come to auction and they have all been record breakers. In the span of six months, sales for the...
Auction Record: Alma Thomas's 1969 Vision of 'Spring Flowers' Yields More Than $300K

Auction Record: Alma Thomas’s 1969 Vision of ‘Spring Flowers’ Yields More Than $300K

  PAINTED NEARLY 50 YEARS AGO, Alma Thomas‘s ode to “Spring Flowers in Washington D.C.” set an artist record yesterday, topping more than $300,000 at Los Angeles Modern Auctions. Grounded in pink, the mesmerizing square canvas is a rhythmic composition of pattern and color. Nearly four hours after the Modern Art & Design Auction started...
Backstory: Half a Century Ago, a California College Student Visited Alma Thomas in Washington and Bought a Major Painting

Backstory: Half a Century Ago, a California College Student Visited Alma Thomas in Washington and Bought a Major Painting

ALMA THOMAS, “Spring Flowers in Washington D.C. (1969) is being offered at LA Modern Auctions on March 5.   IN A HANDWRITTEN LETTER, Alma Thomas (1891-1978) thanked an aspiring young African American physician for sending his final payment to purchase one of her paintings. The California college student visited Thomas’s studio in 1969 and decided...
Body Prints by David Hammons Headline New York Auctions at Christie's and Swann

Body Prints by David Hammons Headline New York Auctions at Christie’s and Swann

  A post shared by CHRISTIE'S (@christiesinc) on Feb 26, 2017 at 11:46am PST   SITUATED BETWEEN “Love in the Night,” by Yayoi Kusama and John Baldessari’s “Exulting Figure (With Coins) and Witness,” a masterful body print by David Hammons is on display at Christie’s New York at Rockefeller Center. Depicting a lone figure executed...
For Netherlands-based Sam Middleton, Posthumous New York Exhibition is a Homecoming of Sorts

For Netherlands-based Sam Middleton, Posthumous New York Exhibition is a Homecoming of Sorts

SAM MIDDLETON, “Jazz is Free As a Bird,” 1972 (mixed media oil and collage on board). | Courtesy GP Contemporary   LAST FALL, LEAFING THROUGH the catalog for the Oct. 6, 2016, African-American Fine Art sale at Swann Auction Galleries, an abstract painting by Sam Middleton (1927-2015) stood out. Titled “Jazz Is Free As A...
How Much is That Painting? Top 25 Auction Lots by African American Artists, 2014-2016

How Much is That Painting? Top 25 Auction Lots by African American Artists, 2014-2016

Julie Mehretu, “Looking Back to a Bright New Future” (2003).   EARLY NEXT MONTH, major auction houses in New York and London are holding post-war and contemporary art sales. In anticipation of the first significant offerings of the year, Culture Type is assessing the state of art by black artists. In recent years, a cluster...
Market Interest: With Intimate Portrait, Njideka Akunyili Crosby Achieves Auction Record for Second Time in Two Months

Market Interest: With Intimate Portrait, Njideka Akunyili Crosby Achieves Auction Record for Second Time in Two Months

“Drown” by Njideka Akunyili Crosby sold for more than $1 million at Sotheby’s New York on Nov. 17, 2016. | via Sotheby’s   MANY ARTISTS GO OUT OF THEIR WAY to make clear that the issues raised in their work serve to start a conversation rather than reflect their own opinion and the figures they...
At Swann African American Art Auction, Abstract Paintings by Norman Lewis, Sam Gilliam, and Wadsworth Jarrell Top Sales

At Swann African American Art Auction, Abstract Paintings by Norman Lewis, Sam Gilliam, and Wadsworth Jarrell Top Sales

WADSWORTH JARRELL’s 1973 “Untitled (African Rhythm, Our Heritage)” achieved an artist’s record at Swann’s Oct. 6 sale of African American art.   WHEN THE HAMMER CAME DOWN, a brief round of applause followed the sale of Wadsworth Jarrell‘s “Untitled (African Rhythm, Our Heritage).” The vibrant mixed-media painting sold for $78,000 ($97,500 including fees), more than...
At Swann Auction, Records Set for 6 Black Artists Including Frank Bowling, Palmer Hayden, and Felrath Hines

At Swann Auction, Records Set for 6 Black Artists Including Frank Bowling, Palmer Hayden, and Felrath Hines

SIX BLACK ARTISTS made news recently when their work set sales records at Swann Auction Galleries. Paintings by Frank Bowling, Allan Freelon, Palmer Hayden, Felrath Hines, Wadsworth Jerrell, and Robert Neal, sold for record prices at Swann’s April 7 sale of African American fine art. The artists, both modern and contemporary, have had notable and...
At Christie's Auction, Henry Taylor Painting of Historic Track Star Sets Record for Artist

At Christie’s Auction, Henry Taylor Painting of Historic Track Star Sets Record for Artist

  CAPTURING HISTORIC TRACK STAR Alice Coachman in midair, Henry Taylor‘s painting of the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal sold for $149,000 (including fees) yesterday at Christie’s in New York. The price was twice the high estimate and a record at auction for a work by the Los Angeles-based artist, according...