IN NEW YORK, MAJOR AUCTION HOUSES lined up a variety of significant works by critically recognized Black artists for their modern and contemporary art Evening Auctions, with estimates ranging from the high six figures to multiple millions. Several lots carried estimates that if reached would result in new artist records at auction.

The premium November sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips featured modern and contemporary art, with Sotheby’s introducing a new Evening sale focused on the very latest in contemporary art, made in the past 20 years.

Works by U.S.-based artists Romare Bearden, Mark Bradford, David Hammons, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Amy Sherald, Mickalene Thomas, Charles White, and Stanley Whitney, among others, were up for auction. Works by British painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Nigeria-based Ghanaian artist El Anatsui and Cuban-born Wilfred Lam were also offered.

The results included records for Bearden, Jordan Casteel, Rashid Johnson, Christina Quarles, Adam Pendleton, and Toyin Ojih Odutola. After a painting by Whitney set a record at Christie’s, days later the benchmark was surpassed at Sotheby’s. At Phillips, highlights included the withdrawal of a coveted portrait by Barkley L. Hendricks.

The auctions occurred between Nov. 9 and Nov. 18, 2021. Nearly all of the lots were paintings, including abstract and figurative works, as well as portraits. Sherald was the only Black female artist featured in the premium fall sales whose work was estimated to achieve a million dollar result. It did that and then some.

 


Lot 8A: STANLEY WHITNEY (Born 1946), Untitled, 1999 (oil on linen 72 ½ x 85 inches / 184.2 x 215.9 cm). | Estimate $500,000-$700,000. SOLD for $1,230,000 fees included. RECORD

 
Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale | Nov. 9

AT CHRISTIE’S, the 21st Century Evening Sale was a 40-lot sale, including nine works by Black artists. Two were by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) who is in a category unto himself among Black artists, and in a rare group of contemporary artists in general, in terms of the prices his works command. Basquiat’s “The Guilt of Gold Teeth” (1982) sold for $40 million. Although the price was below the estimate, the result made it the auction’s top lot. “Flash in Naples” (1983) by Basquiat sold for $19.8 million.

New records were set by Rashid Johnson and Stanley Whitney. An untitled 1999 work by Whitney achieved a new benchmark. One of his signature, color-driven, stacked-grid paintings, was estimated at $500,000-$700,000 and sold for more than $1.2 million about twice the expected price. The result is a record for Whitney and marks the first time the artist’s work has eclipsed the million-dollar mark at auction.

(Less than two weeks later, on Nov. 18, a new record was established for Whitney when “Forward to Black” (1996) sold for $2,319,000 at Sotheby’s, nearly two times his previous benchmark.)

The result is a record for Stanley Whitney and marks the first time the artist’s work has eclipsed the million-dollar mark at auction.


Lot 20A: RASHID JOHNSON (Born 1977), Bruise Painting “Or Down You Fall,” 2021 (oil on linen, 96 x 84 ¼ inches / 243.8 x 214 cm). | Estimate $650,000-$850,00. SOLD for $2,550,000 fees included. RECORD

 

Johnson’s Bruise Painting “Or Down You Fall” (2021) achieved three times the estimate ($650,000-$850,000) reaching more than $2.5 million. The black and blue painting—a grid of repeated faces, in a scrawled, abstract style—develops from his Anxious Men series addressing anxiety experienced by Black men and Anxious Red Paintings responding to the isolation and loss of the pandemic. Johnson donated the painting to the auction with the proceeds benefitting ClientEarth, a global environmental law organization headquartered in London.

 


Lot 18A: DAVID HAMMONS (Born 1943), Untitled, 2004 (wall-mounted sculpture comprised of 13 African masks, wood, metal, wire, rope, straw and mirror, 39 x 11 x 55 inches / 99.1 x 27.9 x 139.7 cm). | Estimate $3 million-$5 million. SOLD for $3,750,000 fees included

 


Lot 29A: MARK BRADFORD (Born 1961), “The Next Hot Line,” 2015 (mixed media on canvas, 84 ¼ x 108 ¼ inches / 214 x 275 cm). | Estimate $4 million-$6 million. SOLD for $5,790,000 fees included

 


Lot 30A: MICKALENE THOMAS (Born 1971), “Don’t Forget About Me (Keri),” 2009 (rhinestones, acrylic and enamel on panel, 84 x 72 1/8 inches / 213.4 x 183.2 cm). | Estimate $400,000-$600,000. SOLD for $525,000 fees included

 

The Christie’s auction also featured a mixed-media painting by Mickalene Thomas. “Don’t Forget About Me (Keri)” (2009) sold within the estimate for $525,000. The result was 10 times the $53,125 the seller paid for the work at Sotheby’s in 2014, when it was among hundreds of works sold by collector Adam Sender, a hedge-fund manager.

 


Lot 34A: JACK WHITTEN (1939-2018), “The Eleventh Loop (Dedicated To The Memory Of Adrienne Rich),” 2012 (acrylic on canvas, in two parts, 48 x 120 inches / 121.9 x 304.8 cm). | Estimate $1 million-$1.5 million. SOLD for $1,230,000 fees included

 


Lot 35A: EL ANATSUI (Born 1944), “Lanogo,” 2009 (found aluminum bottle caps and copper wire, 117 x 162 inches / 297.2 x 411.5 cm). | Estimate $1.2 million-$1.8 million. SOLD for 1,470,000 fees included

 
Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale | Nov. 11

THERE WERE 54 LOTS in Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale and only one featured a work by a Black artist, an important painting by Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) with a notable provenance.

Reflecting his vision of the Deep South, Lawrence’s “Red Earth – Georgia” (1947) was the seventh lot up for auction. It sold for twice the low estimate reaching nearly $4.5 million.

 


Lot 31C: JACOB LAWRENCE (1917-2000), “Red Earth – Georgia,” 1947 (tempera on board, 20 1/8 x 24 inches / 51.1 x 61 cm). | Estimate $2 million-$3 million. SOLD for $4,470,000 fees included.

 

The painting was originally purchased by master printer Robert Blackburn from The Downtown Gallery. The same gallery that sold Lawrence’s 60-panel Migration series to the Phillips Collection and the Museum of Modern Art.

Fortune commissioned Lawrence to complete a series of paintings based on his observation of post-war African American life in cotton country during his visit to the Deep South the previous summer. For the project, the artist made 10 egg tempera on hardboard paintings, “Red Earth – Georgia” among them. Ultimately, the magazine used three of the paintings to illustrate an article titled “In the Heart of the Black Belt. Appearing in the August 1948 issue, the article did not feature “Red Earth – Georgia,” but it did include “The Businessmen” (1947) from the series.

Lawrence’s current auction record was established when “The Businessmen” sold for $6.1 million at Sotheby’s New York in November 2018. “Red Earth – Georgia” achieved the second highest result for Lawrence at auction.

The Georgia painting depicts sharecroppers at the end of a long day of work. The group is likely a family, given the presence of men, women, and children. Nearly two-thirds of the picture plane is dominated by the red clay ground, symbolizing the vastness of the land and, perhaps, its determinative power over the livelihoods of so many African Americans at the time.

The caption Lawrence wrote for “Red Earth – Georgia” reads: “Within the black belt can be found most of the Negro wealth in the United States. There are palatial homes, palatial funeral parlors, rich insurance companies and a few banks—but the great mass of people are poor.”

“Within the black belt can be found most of the Negro wealth in the United States. There are palatial homes, palatial funeral parlors, rich insurance companies and a few banks—but the great mass of people are poor.” — Jacob Lawrence

 
Sotheby’s Modern Evening Auction | Nov. 16

PAINTINGS BY Norman Lewis (1909-1979) and Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982) were featured in the 47-lot Modern Evening sale at Sotheby’s. Both paintings were produced in the mid-20th century and possess a modernist aesthetic.

Lewis painted “Snow in the City” in 1949 and held onto the work for more than a dozen years until 1972, when a San Francisco collector acquired it directly from the artist. The work remained with the same owner for half a century and was not displayed publicly until it was offered at auction, according to the lot description.


Lot 3: NORMAN LEWIS (1909-1979), “Snow in the City,” 1949 (oil on canvas, 38 ¼ x 57 ⅜ in. 97.2 x 145.7 cm). | Estimate $800,000-$1.2 million. SOLD for $1,411,500 fees included

 
    Sotheby’s on Snow in the City: An early example of Lewis’s shift from figuration to abstraction in the late 1940s, the present work emerges from a limited group of white paintings the artists executed during these years; this group also includes Harlem Turns White (1955), one of the artist’s best-known works. Articulated in veils of shimmering pigment and delicate, intricately rendered shapes, Lewis’s signature abstract mode is nowhere more lyrical than in the white and silver hues of the present work.

“Snow in the City” sold for more than $1.4 million, near the high estimate, resulting in the third-highest price at auction for a work by the artist. Only two paintings have sold for more.

(In May 2021, “Evening Rhapsody” (1955) from the collection of playwright Lynn Nottage, sold for more than $1.7 million Sotheby’s New York. The current auction record for Lewis was set at Sotheby’s New York in November 2019 when “Ritual” (1962) soared to $2.78 million.)

 


Lot 28: WILFREDO LAM (1902-1982), “Reflets d’eau,” 1957 (oil on canvas, 100 3/8 x 26 3/4 inches / 255 x 67.9 cm). | Estimate $1.5 million-$2.5 million. SOLD for $1,351,000 fees included

 
    Sotheby’s on Reflets d’eau: An exceptionally rare masterwork of unparalleled dynamism, Wifredo Lam’s Reflets d’eau of 1957 is one of the defining works of the artist’s oeuvre. The culminating painting in a cycle of only four canvases executed in this monumental format, it is marked by the elusive hybrid symbology, elegant draftsmanship and rhythmic composition that are characteristic of Lam’s output in this critical period.

Lam’s “Reflets d’eau” (1957) is a totemic image depicting a stalk of sugarcane. Despite its significance, the painting sold below the estimate for about $1.35 million.

 
Phillips 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale | Nov. 17

AT PHILLIPS, the Contemporary Evening Sale featured works by a number highly regarded artists spanning generations, including David Hammons, Barkley L. Hendricks, Amy Sherald, Mickalene Thomas, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Two paintings by Basquiat were offered. When the auction concluded “Untitled (Door)” (1984) was among the top lots, attracting more than $8.5 million, the third-highest price among all of the lots for sale. Basquiat’s “Untitled (from Famous Negro Athlete Series)” (1981) sold for twice the estimate ($750,000-$1.1 million) reaching $2.45 million.

 


Lot 6: DAVID HAMMONS, “Puzzling Times,” 1976 (pigment and ink on paper and glass collage, in artist’s frame
33 3/4 x 27 7/8 inches / 85.7 x 70.8 cm). | Estimate $1 million-$1.5 million. SOLD for $877,000 fees included

 

Additional lots exponentially outperformed their estimates. Expected to sell for $1.2 million-$1.8 million, “Welfare Queen” (2012), a portrait painted by Sherald, garnered $3.9 million. An untitled 1988 sculpture by Hammons, a wall-mounted assemblage worked composed of frying pans among other elements, also exceeded expectations. The Hammons work sold for $3.66 million against an estimate of $1 million-$1.5 million.

Up-and-coming artists experienced soaring results, too. “My Umbrella Has A Nourishing Disguise” (2018), an abstract painting by Jadé Fadojutimi, was estimated at $150,000-$200,000 and reached $877,000. Kwesi Botchway’s “Green Sofa” (2020) carried an estimate $30,000-$50,000 and sold for $214,200.

While (Lot 41), the untitled assemblage work by Hammons, reached three times the estimate, “Puzzling Times” (1976), a body print by the artist, sold below expectations.

THE PHILLIPS AUCTION originally featured 48 lots, but before the sale got underway two were withdrawn, including a portrait by Hendricks titled “FTA” (1968).

The painting was consigned by Dr. Gordon Moore, a professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School, and his wife Charlotte Moore, a felt artist with an academic background in Greek and Roman archeology.

An early example of what Hendricks called his “limited palette paintings,” the artist worked with a variety of green tones to create “FTA,” a portrait of a Black U.S. Army soldier wearing a Vietnam-era uniform. With his helmet worn low over his forehead with his eyes closed, the image is all about shadow, color, and the expression on the young man’s face, which speaks volumes, expressing fatigue, resignation, and the sense that he is taking a moment to gather his strength both mentally and physically.

 


Lot 14: BARKLEY L. HENDRICKS, “FTA,” 1968 (oil on canvas, in artist’s frame, 27 1/2 x 25 inches / 69.9 x 63.5 cm). | Estimate $4 million-$6 million. WITHDRAWN

 

The title Philadelphia-born Hendricks chose for the painting has double meaning. During an era when the U.S. Army used FTA as a recruiting slogan that stood for “Fun, Travel, and Adventure,” the artist employed the acronym with an alternative meaning (“Fuck the Army”) expressing the disdain felt by many African Americans frustrated by their commitment to fight and potentially die for the United States, despite America’s resistance to the Civil Rights Movement and its demand for racial justice and equal rights.

Hendricks had said he thought the Vietnam War was corrupt. However, mindful of the draft, he enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard after earning a certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1967.

“FTA” was featured “Birth of the Cool,” the touring survey that originated at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C. More recently it was on view at Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine (“Barkley Hendricks: Let’s Make Some History,” 2017) and MassArt Art Museum at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston (“Legacy of the Cool: A Tribute to Barkley L. Hendricks,” 2018).

Leading up to the sale, the painting attracted heightened interest, including coverage in ARTnews. Ultimately, the Moores decided to pull the painting because they weren’t satisfied with the anticipated outcome based on advanced interest from potential buyers.

Two days after the auction, in a phone interview with Culture Type, the Moores discussed why they withdrew the lot, their affinity for the painting, and how they hoped to leverage it as a resource to address racial division.

“We had two purposes for selling ‘FTA.’ We really didn’t want to. He’s been in our lives for a good 50 years or so and we really treasure him. Our primary purpose in selling him was that we wanted him… he’s so iconic both for the civil rights period when he was painted and also to the present day and we really wanted him to participate in the public dialogue about racism in this country. I mean you can just see it in his eyes. It’s really powerful and we wanted an owner who would be sympathetic to our purpose and willing loan him out to settings that would encourage public dialogue and we just didn’t see that happening,” Charlotte said.

“The other thing is Gordon and I are working to formulate and fund a project that would look for ways to help preschool children and their families to celebrate differences among people as being positive things, rather than negative, and were disappointed we didn’t get that, but we’re working on it. At the end, we felt we were a bit short of our goals and we decided we could do better for the painting and our project. So we decided to pull him at the last minute. It was a very hard decision. But I am happy to have him back for a while.”

“Our primary purpose in selling him was that we wanted him… he’s so iconic both for the civil rights period when he was painted and also to the present day and we really wanted him to participate in the public dialogue about racism in this country. I mean you can just see it in his eyes. It’s really powerful.” — Charlotte Moore

 


Lot 15: AMY SHERALD, “Welfare Queen,” 2012 (oil on canvas, 54 x 43 1/8 inches / 137.2 x 109.5 cm). | Estimate $1.2 million-$1.8 million. SOLD for $3,902,000 fees included

 

“Welfare Queen” by Sherald depicts a Black woman looking regal, poised, and dignified. She is wearing a jeweled crown, pearl necklace, and an elegant, navy blue gown with white opera-length gloves and a violet sash á la a beauty queen. Her red lips match the picture’s scarlet background. The subject’s appearance contrasts with the derogatory title and its loaded meaning.

The painting was consigned for sale by Imani Perry, a professor of African American studies at Princeton University. She wrote the lot essay that accompanied the painting.

“What first drew my attention was the figure. A Black woman, with layers of blue beneath her skin, poised, elegant, bearing a crown. She is an embodiment of Black Southern defiant dignity. Our mothers and grandmothers, the women who cooked and cleaned and labored in fields, were treated as inferior, yet they still bore themselves with endless grace and modeled it for us,” Perry wrote.

“Before I knew much about the artist, Amy Sherald, I knew the intimate story she was telling. I felt I had to have a piece by her, and I wanted this one in particular.”

Sherald’s “Welfare Queen” painting sold for the highest price among the living Black artists represented in the sale ($3.9 million). Hammons was not too far behind with his untitled work bringing $3.66 million.

 


Lot 37: MICKALENE THOMAS, “Portrait of Qusuquzah #5,” 2011 (rhinestones, acrylic and enamel on panel, 72 x 46 inches, 182.9 x 116.8 cm). | Estimate $400,000-$600,000. SOLD for $504,000 fees included

 


Lot 36: LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE, “Six PM, Malaga,” 2009 (oil on canvas, 78 3/4 x 47 1/4 inches / 200 x 120 cm). | Estimate $500,000-$700,000. SOLD for $567,000 fees included

 


Lot 41: DAVID HAMMONS, “Untitled,” 1988 (rubber tube, frying pans and metal chains, 48 x 18 x 7 inches / 121.9 x 45.7 x 17.8 cm). | Estimate $1 million-$1.5 million. SOLD for $3,660,000 fees included

 

The auction was front loaded with works by Black artists, representing four out of the first six lots offered: Fadojutimi (Lot 2), Botchway (4), Titus Kaphar (5), and Hammons (6). Works by Hurvin Anderson, Honor Titus, and Reggie Burrows Hodges were also featured.

It was a historic evening. The auction resulted in the highest sales total ever achieved at Phillips: $139.1 million.

Jean-Paul Engelen and Robert Manley, Deputy Chairmen and Worldwide Co-Heads of 20th Century & Contemporary Art said in a statement: “Tonight’s sale, which achieved a record for any sale at Phillips, was an extremely gratifying milestone and an affirmation of our continued strategy to offer different categories alongside one another, only serving to elevate and enhance all of them. This expansion in taste was evident in the strong bidding for both Georgia O’Keeffe and Kwesi Botchway, whose works were astonishingly nearly a century apart.”

 
Sotheby’s The Now Evening Auction | Nov. 18

IN ADDITION TO EVENING SALES dedicated to modern and contemporary art, Sotheby’s inaugurated a third sale focused on new works made in the past 20 years.

Called The Now, the auction house described the event as “offering the most exciting, cutting edge works on the market and providing a masterpiece context for well-established, newly canonized artists such as Mark Bradford and Yoshitomo Nara, as well as heightened visibility and a relevant art historical context for younger artists, establishing the masters of today and tomorrow.”

New records were set by younger artists Toyin Ojih Odutola, Jordan Casteel, Christina Quarles, and Adam Pendleton, along with Stanley Whitney, a well-established figure.

 


Lot 3: TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA, “Through Line,” 2017 (charcoal, pastel, and pencil on paper, 79 x 41½ inches / 200.7 x 104.1 cm). | Estimate $500,000-$700,000. SOLD for $2,198,000 fees included. RECORD

 

“Through Line” (2017) by Odutola is a full-length portrait of the artist that soared to a record-setting $2.1 million, a stunning result that far-exceed expectations. The price was more three times the high estimate ($500,000-$700,000) and more than double Odutola’s existing benchmark.

The large-scale drawing was on view in her 2018 solo exhibition at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Ga., and is also illustrated in the recently published volume, “Toyin Ojih Odutola: The UmuEze Amara Clan the House of Obafemi.”

New York-based Odutola’s previous record was $832,748 established months earlier in April 2021, when “Eastern Entrance” (2016) sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

“A Countervailing Theory,” a major solo exhibition of Odutola is on view at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., through April 3.

 


Lot 15: JORDAN CASTEEL, “Crockett Brothers,” 2015 (oil on canvas, 54 x 72 inches / 137.2 x 182.9 cm). | Estimate $350,000-$450,000. SOLD for $806,500 fees included

 

Casteel is known for honing in on the individuality and humanity of her subjects. “Crockett Brothers” (2015) depicts two young men in a domestic living room space, sitting side-by-side in traditional chairs upholstered in a floral fabric. One of the brothers is holding a saxophone.

The double portrait sold for $806,500, setting a new artist record, surpassing Casteel’s previous record-setting result established in May 2021 when “Jiréh” (2013) sold for $687,500 at Christie’s New York.

“Crockett Brothers” was featured in the artist’s Brothers exhibition at Sargent’s Daughters gallery in New York (Oct. 16-Nov 15, 2015). Casteel made the painting when she was an artist-in-residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) Process Space. Subsequently, she participated in the residency program at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2015-16).

 


Lot 13: STANLEY WHITNEY, “Forward to Black,” 1996 (oil on canvas, 72 ½ x 85 inches / 184.2 x 215.9 cm). | Estimate $150,000-$200,000. SOLD for $2,319,000 fees included

 

One week after setting a record at Christie’s on Nov. 9 (when an untitled 1999 work sold for $1.2 million), Whitney reached a new high mark at Sotheby’s.

“Forward to Black” (1996) sold for $2,319,000, an astronomical result that was about 10 times the estimate ($150,000-$200,000) and more than twice the record-setting result achieved days earlier. Produced two years apart, both vibrantly colored paintings are examples of the stacked-grid compositions for which New York-based Whitney is best known.

 


Lot 20: CHRISTINA QUARLES, “Common Ground (Worlds Apart, Miles Away),” 2016 (acrylic on canvas, 50 x 40 inches / 127 x 101.6 cm). | Estimate $120,000-$180,000. SOLD for $685,500 fees included. RECORD

 


Lot 23: ADAM PENDLETON, “Untitled (WE ARE NOT),” 2019-20. | Estimate $100,000-$150,000. SOLD for $504,000 fees included. RECORD

 

Black artists were well-represented in The Now sale, accounting for nine of the 23 lots, about 40 percent of the offerings. In addition to the artists who set new records, the auction featured lots by Mark Bradford, Rashid Johnson, and Mickalene Thomas.

 
Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Auction | Nov. 18

COLLAGE WORKS by Romare Bearden opened and closed Sotheby’s Evening Auction, achieving the highest prices Bearden’s work has seen at auction, eclipsing $1 million for the first time, and setting a new record for the celebrated artist. “The Street” (1975) sold for $1,109,000, a record-setting result. “The Cardplayers” (1982) reached $1,024,300.

 


Lot 101: ROMARE BEARDEN (1911-1988), “The Street,” 1975 (paper collage on board, 37⅝ x 51⅛ inches / 95.6 x 129.9 cm). | Estimate $500,000-$700,000. SOLD for $1,109,000 fees included

 
    Sotheby’s on The Street: An extraordinary achievement by the artist during what was arguably his most pivotal decade, The Street from 1975 presents a stunning amalgamation of Bearden’s most iconic and signature qualities, seamlessly weaving a variety of textures, colors, patterns and paper materials together which coalesce into an abundantly vibrant scene of narrative harmony. Rare, iconic and essentially encapsulating of the artist’s mesmerizing ability to yield scenes both piercingly intimate and encompassing of a universal vitality The Street is one of a group of eight comparable compositions from the “Street” series, four of which are in the collections of museums and institutions speaking to the tremendous caliber of this suite of works.

The other two (The Street and The Cardplayers) were in the collection of David Lebenbom for nearly 50 years before coming to auction through his estate. An art collector and attorney, Lebenbom acquired each of the works the same year they were produced from Sheldon Ross Gallery in Birmingham, Mich. Founded by the collector’s close friend, the gallery was shuttered in 1999.

 


Lot 135: ROMARE BEARDEN (1911-1988), “The Cardplayers,” 1982 (collage and mixed media on fiberboard, 18 x 24 inches / 45.7 by 61 cm). | Estimate $400,000-$600,000. SOLD for $1,024,300 fees included

 
    Sotheby’s on Bearden, Lebenbom, and Ross: This unique synergy of artist, dealer and collector originated in 1967, when Sheldon Ross and his high school friend, David Lebenbom were first acquainted with Bearden’s work at his solo exhibition at J.L Hudson Gallery in Detroit. Struck by the immediacy and universality of Bearden’s collages, Sheldon Ross and David Lebenbom instinctively decided to dedicate themselves to a lifelong relationship with the artist, hinged upon collaboration, connoisseurship and friendship.

Five years after it was produced, “The Street” was showcased in “Romare Bearden 1970-1980” (1980-82), which was organized by the Mint Museum in the artist’s hometown of Charlotte, N.C. The show toured three additional venues, including the Brooklyn Museum.

In later years, both “The Street” and “The Cardplayers” were featured key traveling exhibitions: the Studio Museum in Harlem’s “Memory and Metaphor: The Art of Romare Bearden, 1940-1987” (1991) and “The Art of Romare Bearden” (2003-2005), the seminal exhibition organized by Ruth Fine at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

“Struck by the immediacy and universality of Bearden’s collages, Sheldon Ross and David Lebenbom instinctively decided to dedicate themselves to a lifelong relationship with the artist, hinged upon collaboration, connoisseurship and friendship.” — Sotheby’s

 


Lot 133: CHARLES WHITE (1918-1979), Nobody Knows My Name #2, 1965 (charcoal and crayon on illustration board, 30 x 40⅛ inches / 76.5 x 102 cm). | Estimate $400,000-$600,000. SOLD for $867,000 fees included

 


Lot 130: SAM GILLIAM (Born 1933), Atmosphere, 1972 (acrylic on beveled edge canvas, 92 x 144 inches / 233.7 x 365.8 cm). | Estimate $1.5 million-$2 million. SOLD for $1,850,000 fees included

 

The Sotheby’s sale featured 34 lots, including works by Sam Gilliam, Charles White, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, alongside the Bearden collages.

A new season of modern and contemporary art Evening Sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips gets underway the first week in March with sales in London. CT

 

UPDATED (03/01/22): Results from the Nov. 18, 2021, Sotheby’s inaugural The Now Evening sale incorporated

 

* All results include Buyer’s Premium fees, unless otherwise noted. Estimates do not include fees

 

FIND MORE about resale royalty rights for visual artists from the Center for Art Law, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based nonprofit

 

BOOKSHELF
Published in September, “Toyin Ojih Odutola: The UmuEze Amara Clan and the House of Obafemi” includes contributions by the artist and Zadie Smith, Leigh Raiford, Osman Can Yerebakan, and Amber Jamillah Musse. “Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool” was published to accompany the artist’s traveling survey. A new series of publications dedicated the under-known aspects of the artist’s practice includes “Barkley L. Hendricks: Works on Paper,” “Barkley L. Hendricks: Landscape Paintings,” “Barkley L. Hendricks: Basketball,” and “Barkley L. Hendricks: Photography,” the most recent volume. The work of Jacob Lawrence is explored in “The Complete Jacob Lawrence,” a catalogue Raisonne, and “Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series.” “The Art of Romare Bearden” was published on the occasion of the seminal traveling exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Art. “Something Over Something Else”: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series” documented the recent exhibition exploring Bearden’s autobiographic Profile series from 1978, which features collages accompanied by captions and statement co-written by the artist and his friend, author and critic Albert Murray. Also consider “An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden,” Mary Schmidt Campbell’s biography of Bearden and “The Romare Bearden Reader,” edited by Robert G. O’Mealy. “Mickalene Thomas,” the artist’s first monograph, was just published and features essays by Kellie Jones and Roxane Gay.

 

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