THE FORTHCOMING AFRICAN AMERICAN ART sale at Swann Auction Galleries in New York features a selection of rare prints and a few paintings benefitting the Brandywine Workshop and Archives (BWA), the printmaking institution in Philadelphia. A handful of works were consigned directly by the artists. Most are sourced from the collection of BWA and the personal holdings of BWA founder Allan Edmunds and his wife Anne Edmunds. In all, 24 works are being offered to benefit Brandywine on Oct. 7.

Prints by Benny Andrews, Emma Amos, Curlee Raven Holton, and Charles White‘s “I Have a Dream” (1969) portfolio of six offset lithographs are featured. Two engravings by Tallahassee, Fla.-based Leon N. Hicks and two gouache on paper works by Floyd Newsum of Houston, Texas, are being offered by the artists.

 


Lot 136: CURLEE RAVEN HOLTON (1951-), “Quilt,” 2000 (hand-colored etching and collage on Arches paper, 546 x 685 mm / 21 1/2 x 27 inches), Signed, titled, dated and numbered 17/30 in pencil. | Estimate $3,000-$5,000. Sold for $2,400 hammer price, $3,000 fees included

 

“When Allan asked about the auction and would I participate, there was no doubt that I would participate. I surely would participate because it is such a worthy institution and it serves Philadelphia well, and the nation,” Newsum told Culture Type. “I was very proud to donate. As the late John Scott said, always pass it on.”

Many of the benefit lots are limited-editions printed and published at Brandywine by artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Louis Delsarte, David Driskell, Richard Hunt, Samella Lewis, Richard Mayhew, and Stanley Whitney. “Together We Stand,” a color lithograph by Lewis features six figures gathered around a central subject. The image includes a line of poetry by Maya Angelou, the artist’s friend. The work is inscribed “Joy!,” signed by Angelou, and dated “December 14, 1997.”

Other highlights include a pair of collographs, tondos created in the 1997 and 1998 at Brandywine by Belkis Ayón (1967-1999), an Afro-Cuban artist and professor. Brandywine “was one of the first, if not the first organization to bring Ayón to the United States,” according to Swann. Two paintings by Philadelphia artist Paul F. Keene Jr.“Late Summer Studio Window” (1968) and “The Guitarist (Jazz Icon Series)” (1985)—were consigned by the artist’s estate. The works Keene by and Ayón carry the highest estimates.

Lots 120-143 in the African American Art sale benefit Brandywine and include the following citation in the lot description: “Consigned to support the Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia and its legacy endowment campaign.” The works were produced between 1968 and 2020 and their estimates range from $1,000-$1,500 and $25,000-$35,000.

Edmunds told Culture Type that 100 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of works from his personal holdings will go to BWA. For the lots sourced from the Brandywine collection, half of the proceeds will benefit the artist or their estate and half will be directed back to BWA.

“When Allan asked about the auction and would I participate there was no doubt that I would participate. I surely would participate because it is such a worthy institution and it serves Philadelphia well, and the nation.”
— Artist Floyd Newsum


Lot 120: PAUL F. KEENE JR. (1920-2009), “Late Summer Studio Window,” From the artist’s Window Series, 1968 (oil on linen canvas, 1828 x 1333 mm / 72 x 52 1/2 inches). | Estimate $25,000-$35,000. UNSOLD

 

AN ARTIST AND EDUCATOR, Edmunds founded the Brandywine Graphic Workshop in 1972. During the first couple of years, the organization worked with teenagers and young artists on screen printing projects, before expanding its scope to collaborate with fine artists. By 1975, the nonprofit had established a visiting artist-in-residence program. The inaugural residents were Romare Bearden and Sam Gilliam. Eventually, Brandywine offered internships and exhibitions were mounted, on-site and traveling nationally and internationally.

Today, Brandywine is a widely recognized visual arts institution with facilities for producing large-format flatbed offset lithographs, hand-pulled lithographs, screenprints, and woodcuts (with CNC cutters).

Over the past five decades, Brandywine has worked with hundreds of artists. The roster includes Candida Alvarez, John Biggers, Selma Burke, Ed Clark, Adger Cowans, Barbara Chase–Riboud, Melvin Edwards, Edgar Heap of Birds, Barkley L. Hendricks, Wadsworth Jarrell, Alvin Loving, Kenneth Noland, Janet Taylor Pickett, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Sylvia Snowden, Kay Walkingstick, Deborah Willis, and William T. Williams. More recently, a new generation of artists has created prints, including Jamal Cyrus, Sedrick Huckaby, Rashid Johnson, Robert Pruitt, and Hank Willis Thomas.

Newsum, a professor of art at the University of Houston Downtown was in residence at Brandywine twice, in the mid-1990s and 2003. He said he was “privileged” to make three prints at the workshop.

“I’ve been knowing Allan for forty-something years and when I was a resident there, I believe it was 1995, I saw all the work done by a variety of artists from a variety of cultures from around the country, and I continue to see that,” Newsum said. “It has given opportunities for emerging and established artists to do projects and printmaking. Brandywine is an institution that has supported the visual arts, not only nationally, but worldwide.”

The archives of Brandywine are represented in major institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Hampton University, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Scripps College, Museum of Contemporary Native American Art, University of Texas at Austin, Harvard University Museums, and the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center in Havana, Cuba, among many others.

In 2013, the organization was officially renamed the Brandywine Workshop and Archives to emphasize its commitment to documenting, preserving, and promoting the permanent collection and archives. As Brandywine approaches its 50th year in 2022, collaborations with artists remain central to the mission. At the same time, efforts to grow the organization’s endowment and provide long-term support for its operations and programming, develop its technology infrastructure, and transition its leadership, have been prioritized.

In 2013, the organization was officially renamed the Brandywine Workshop and Archives to emphasize its commitment to documenting, preserving, and promoting the permanent collection and archives.


Lot 127: RICHARD HUNT (1935-), Untitled, circa 1980 (color screenprint on handmade paper, 558 x 774 mm / 22 x 30 1/2 inches), Signed, and numbered 3/40 in pencil. Printed and published by the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, with the printer’s blind stamp. | Estimate $1,500-$2,500. Sold for $1,700 hammer price, $2,125 fees included

 

IN SEPTEMBER, BWA received a $500,000 Mellon grant, spread over two years, to support a new deputy director of programming position and scale up Artura, a free art database and educational resource. To build the endowment, Brandywine’s board of directors is engaging in a Legacy Campaign, raising funds through a series of fundraisers, including art auctions. The strategy is designed to raise funds for BWA and also establish public auction records for artists who may not have market recognition.

The Swann sale of African American art is the first project. Selections from the broader back list, which includes a racially diverse slate of artists, will be featured in forthcoming sales, Edmunds said. Later this year, a new work produced by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui is expected to be offered at one of top two international auction houses to endow a pair of annual residencies for African artists.

“Our Legacy Campaign is not just about our operating budget, it’s to endow leadership positions and endow artist residencies,” Edmunds said. “The goal of the Legacy Campaign is $5 million in five years and that will stabilize us. Brandywine is in a good financial position in that we have no debt. We paid off our mortgages. Our property was recently renovated. We’re kind of good to go for what we call Brandywine 2.0, which is Brandwine after Allan Edmunds.”

Edmunds added that he wanted to encourage collectors to support Brandywine by bidding on the lots in the Swann auction. “Shop, browse, and support,” he said. “We like to think that we give value back. If you give something to Brandywine, you not only preserve the culture and keep opportunities going, but you get something back. You get artwork and you get value and you get owning your own culture.” CT

 

The African American Art auction at Swann Auction Galleries in New York is Oct. 7 at 12 noon EST. Browse catalog

UPDATE (10/10/21): Auction sales results added

 

IN CONVERSATION Today, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. EST, Allan Edmunds will be in conversation with Nigel Freeman, director of Swann’s African American Art Department

 

FIND MORE about the history of Brandywine Workshop and Archives

 


Lot 137: EMMA AMOS (1938-2020), “How Time Flies,” 2004 (color silk aquatint and screenprint with collage on two joined sheets of Rives BFK paper, 762 x 1016 mm / 30 x 40 inches). Signed, titled, dated and numbered 23/50 in pencil. | Estimate $3,000-$5,000. Sold for 8,000 hammer price, $10,000 fees included

 


Lot 122: LEON N. HICKS (1933-), “New Faces: Series VII #1A,” 1970 (engraving on wove paper, 685 x 473 mm / 27 x 18 5/8 inches), Artist’s proof, aside from an edition of less than 10. Signed, titled, dated and inscribed “AP” in pencil. | Estimate $3,000-$5,000. Sold for $2,400 hammer price, $3,000 fees included

 


Lot 124: JOHN E. DOWELL JR. (1941-), “L.P.W.S. (Lines Played With Soul), 1976 (color screenprint on wove paper, 760 x 560 mm / 30 x 22 inches), Signed, titled, dated and numbered 8/22 in pencil. Printed and published by Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia. | Estimate $1,200-$1,800. Sold for $1,200 hammer price, $1,500 fees included

 


Lot 125: STANLEY WHITNEY (1946-), “Untitled #1,” 1979 (color screenprint on cream wove paper, 584 x 905 mm / 23 x 35 3/8 inches), State proof, one of only several state proofs with unique coloring, aside from the edition of 35. Signed (twice), titled, dated, inscribed “to Allan” in pencil. Printed and published by the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia. | Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Sold for $3,800 hammer price, $4,750 fees included

 


Lot 128: ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915-2012), “Blues,” 1983 (color offset lithograph on wove paper, 699 x 451 mm / 27 1/2 x 17 3/4 inches), Artist’s proof, one of 20, aside from the edition of 130. Signed, titled, dated and inscribed “AP” in pencil. Printed and published by the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia. | Estimate $3,000-$5,000. Sold for $7,500 hammer price, $9,375 fees included

 


Lot 130: BELKIS AYÓN (1967-1999), “Temores Infundados,” 1997 (collograph on cream wove paper, 723 mm / 28 1/2 inches diameter, tondo), Signed, titled, dated and numbered 9/10 in pencil. Printed by the artist at the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia. | Estimate $20,000-$30,000. Sold for $60,000 hammer price, $75,000 fees included. RECORD

 


Lot 133: SAMELLA LEWIS (1924-), “Together We Stand,” 1997 (color lithograph on cream wove paper, 559 x 755 mm / 22 x 29 3/4 inches), Unique artist’s proof, aside from the edition of 10. Signed, titled, dated and numbered 1/1 in pencil. Additionally signed, inscribed “Joy!” and dated “December 14, 1997” by Maya Angelou. Printed and published by the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia. | Estimate $4,000-$6,000. Sold for $9,500 hammer price, $11,875 fees included

 


Lot 139: DAVID C. DRISKELL (1931-2020), “The Bassist,” 2006 (color lithograph, 760 x 540 mm / 29 3/4 x 21 1/4 inches), Printer’s proof, aside from edition of 80. Signed, titled, dated and numbered “PP1.” Printed and published by the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia. | Estimate $2,000-$3,000. Sold for $2,400 hammer price, $3,000 fees included

 


Lot 140: RICHARD MAYHEW (1924-), “Serenade,” 2008 (color lithograph with hand coloring in pastel, 419 x 635 mm / 16 1/2 x 25 inches), Artist’s proof, aside from edition of 80. Signed, tited, and inscribed “AP” in pencil. Printed and published by the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia. | Estimate $4,000-$6,000. Sold for $5,600 hammer price, $7,000 fees included

 


Lot 143: FLOYD NEWSUM (1950-), “Dreams Beyond 3,” 2020 (gouache with collage elements on wove paper, 762 x 571 mm / 30 x 22 1/2 inches). | Estimate $12,000-$18,000. UNSOLD

 

FIND MORE about artist Floyd Newsum on his website

FIND MORE The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia presented the exhibition “Roll, Press, Pull: Contemporary Prints from the Brandywine Workshop & Archives” earlier this year

 

BOOKSHELF
“Three Decades of American Printmaking: The Brandywine Workshop Collection” by Allan Edmunds was published in 2004. Edited by Shawnya L. Harris, “Emma Amos: Color Odyssey” was published to accompany the artist’s current traveling retrospective, which opens Oct. 11 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Stanley Whitney: Afternoon Paintings” and “Stanley Whitney (Contemporary Painters Series)” were published last year. “David Driskell: Icons of Nature and History” was published on the occasion of the artist’s current retrospective, which opens Oct. 16 at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. “Persevere and Resist: The Strong Black Women of Elizabeth Catlett” by Heather Nickels was published a few months ago. “Richard Mayhew: Transcendence” explores the artist’s unique genre of landscapes, emotional abstracted scenes created using striking color that he calls “Mindscapes.”

 

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