LAST THURSDAY WAS A HISTORY-MAKING DAY in African American art. Sales results show Swann Auction Galleries recorded $2.36 million in total sales (including fees), four lots sold for more than six figures and, most notably, seven artists achieved record prices.

Swann Auction Galleries held its first African American fine art auction of the year on April 2. Among its prized offerings, “Ascension: A Century of African-American Art” featured “Steve” by Barkley L. Hendricks. The catalog describes the lot as “an iconic painting that embodies the look and attitude that Barkley Hendricks famously captured in his late 1970s life-size portraits.” The painting covers the sales catalog and was the auction’s top-selling lot. It sold for $365,000 (including fees), a record price for Hendricks and more than double its high estimate.

Works by well-known figures Sam Gilliam, Lois Mailou Jones and David Driskell also achieved artist records, according to Swann. Gilliam’s untitled 1969 experimental floor painting, a deep-hued abstract made with the artist’s “soak-stain” technique, sold for $197,000 (including fees). The record sales price was more than three times the high estimate. In addition, Thomas Watson Hunster, James C. McMillan and Marion Sampler established high bench marks.

The auction’s top lots by Hendricks, Gilliam, Henry Ossawa Tanner and Norman Lewis surpassed six figures. CT

Note: This post has been updated to reflect a corrected sales total and the fact that seven, rather than four, artists achieved records at the April 2 auction.

ALL IMAGES Courtesy Swann Galleries

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Lot 1: HENRY OSSAWA TANNER (1859 – 1937), “Boy and Sheep under a Tree,” 1881 (oil on linen canvas). Estimate: $200,000 – $300,000. Price realized $245,000 (including fees)

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Lot 4; THOMAS WATSON HUNSTER (1851 – 1929), “View of a Valley,” circa 1900-10 (oil on linen canvas). | Estimate $3,000 – 5,000. Price realized (including fees) $6,500 – RECORD

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Lot 39: LOÏS MAILOU JONES (1905 – 1998), “Lobsterville Beach,” 1945 (oil on linen canvas). | Estimate $30,000 – $40,000. Price Realized (including fees) $62,500 – RECORD

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Lot 47: NORMAN LEWIS (1909 – 1979), “Cathedral,” 1950 (oil on linen canvas). Estimate: $120,000 – $180,000. Price realized $317,000 (including fees)

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Lot 63: DAVID C. DRISKELL (1931 – ), “Two Pines (Two Trees),” 1961 (oil on linen canvas). | Estimate $35,000 – $50,000, Price Realized (including fees) $47,500 – RECORD

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Lot 69: JAMES C. MCMILLAN (1925 – ), “Dark Corner,” 1960 (oil on cotton canvas). | Estimate $12,000 – 18,000. Price realized (including fees) $35,000 – RECORD

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Lot 83: MARION SAMPLER (1920 – 1998), “Untitled,” 1965 (oil on cotton canvas). | Estimate: $8,000 – $12,000. Price realized (including fees) $20,000 – RECORD

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Lot 94: SAM GILLIAM (1933 – ), “Untitled,” 1969 (acrylic on cotton canvas). | Estimate $40,000 – $60,000. Price Realized (including fees) $197,000 – RECORD

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Lot 125: BARKLEY L. HENDRICKS (1945 – ), “Steve,” 1976 (oil, acrylic and Magna on linen canvas). | Estimate $120,000 – 180,000. Price Realized (including fees) $365,000 – RECORD

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