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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
Auction Debut: 'Lilith,' a Mixed-Media Figurative Painting, by Tschabalala Self Sells for Twice its Estimate at Phillips London

Auction Debut: ‘Lilith,’ a Mixed-Media Figurative Painting, by Tschabalala Self Sells for Twice its Estimate at Phillips London

  PHILLIPS OPENED its latest contemporary evening auction in London with a mixed-media painting by Tschabalala Self. According to Phillips, “Lilith” (2015) is the first artwork by the artist to come to auction. The figurative work sold for £125,000 ($163,875 including fees), which was more than twice the estimate. The lot was sold at Phillips...
Artist Record: 'Special Checking' by Jack Whitten Sells for $2.6 Million at Sotheby's

Artist Record: ‘Special Checking’ by Jack Whitten Sells for $2.6 Million at Sotheby’s

  A DRAMATIC AND TRANSFIXING painting by Jack Whitten (1939-2018) set a new artist record at Sotheby’s on Friday. Whitten’s “Special Checking” (1974) sold for for $2,660,000 including fees. (The hammer price was $2.2 million.) Given Sotheby’s set the estimate for the painting at $300,000-$500,000, the sales price was about five times the high estimate....
Soaring Past $7 Million, 'Untitled (Painter)' by Kerry James Marshall is Top Seller at Sotheby's New York

Soaring Past $7 Million, ‘Untitled (Painter)’ by Kerry James Marshall is Top Seller at Sotheby’s New York

  A ROUND OF APPLAUSE emerged from the auction floor Friday afternoon when “Untitled (Painter)” by Kerry James Marshall sold for well beyond its estimate. The 2008 painting, a portrait of a distinguished black painter in her studio, was estimated by Sotheby’s to sell for $1.8 to $2.5 million. When bidding concluded, the hammer price...
Lot of 38 Portraits by Malick Sidibé Tops Swann Photography Sale, Roy DeCarava Image of Harlem Dancers Sets Artist Record

Lot of 38 Portraits by Malick Sidibé Tops Swann Photography Sale, Roy DeCarava Image of Harlem Dancers Sets Artist Record

  BLACK ARTISTS LED the Photographs: Art & Visual Culture sale at Swann Auction Galleries on Feb. 21. A group of 38 silver prints in custom frames by Malick Sidibé (1936-2016) was the top lot. The photos yielded $87,500 (including fees), an artist record, according to Swann. The individual and group portraits were made by...
Theaster Gates, the Chicago-based Cross-Disciplinary Artist and Urban Visionary, Has Joined Gagosian Gallery

Theaster Gates, the Chicago-based Cross-Disciplinary Artist and Urban Visionary, Has Joined Gagosian Gallery

“A Flag for the Least of Them” (2018) by Theaster Gates   CHICAGO-BASED ARTIST Theaster Gates is now represented by Gagosian gallery. Over the past decade, Gates has gained global renown for his unique social practice focused on preservation, restoration, and archiving. Constantly traveling, he has captivated the international art world with his vision for...
Crushing Decade-Old Auction Record, 'The Businessmen' by Jacob Lawrence Soars to $6.1 Million, Placing Him Among the Most Expensive African American Artists

Crushing Decade-Old Auction Record, ‘The Businessmen’ by Jacob Lawrence Soars to $6.1 Million, Placing Him Among the Most Expensive African American Artists

  BEST KNOWN FOR HIS HISTORY PAINTING—multi-panel series about Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and the Great Migration, among many others—artist Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) has made auction history. “The Businessmen,” a 1947 painting by Lawrence sold for more than $6.1 million (including fees) last night at Sotheby’s New York. The price far exceeded the estimate which...
'Ancient Mentor I' by Jack Whitten Reaches $2.2 Million, Establishing New Artist Record, More Than Twice His Previous Auction High Mark

‘Ancient Mentor I’ by Jack Whitten Reaches $2.2 Million, Establishing New Artist Record, More Than Twice His Previous Auction High Mark

Detail of “Ancient Mentor I” (1985) by Jack Whitten   A SPECTACULAR PAINTING by Jack Whitten (1939-2018) established a new artist record yesterday evening. “Ancient Mentor I” (1985) sold for $2,235,000 (including fees) at Sotheby’s New York. The new benchmark shattered Whitten’s previous auction high, which was set by “The Ghost of Joseph Beuys” one...
Nearing $1 Million, Henry Taylor's 'I'll Put a Spell on You' Sets New Artist Record

Nearing $1 Million, Henry Taylor’s ‘I’ll Put a Spell on You’ Sets New Artist Record

  AUCTION PRICES for paintings by Henry Taylor have reached a new realm. This evening, “I’ll Put a Spell on You” (2004) set a new benchmark at Sotheby’s New York. Bids flew past the estimate and the artist’s existing record. Amid the flurry, auctioneer Oliver Barker said “A lot of Henry Taylor collectors here.” After...
Record Breakers? Paintings by Jack Whitten, Sam Gilliam, Barkley L. Hendricks, and Other African American Artists Priced to Set New Auction Highs This Week

Record Breakers? Paintings by Jack Whitten, Sam Gilliam, Barkley L. Hendricks, and Other African American Artists Priced to Set New Auction Highs This Week

Sotheby’s is auctioning “Ancient Mentor I” (1985) by Jack Whitten on Nov. 14 in New York. | Video by Sotheby’s   WORKS BY SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR, expensive, and critically recognized African American artists are featured in this week’s auctions at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips in New York. Several lots will arrive at the...
Georgia O'Keeffe Made 5 Portraits of Beauford Delaney, 1 is For Sale at Christie's

Georgia O’Keeffe Made 5 Portraits of Beauford Delaney, 1 is For Sale at Christie’s

  EVENTUALLY HER SUBJECTS WERE flowers, bones, and the New Mexico landscape, the Modern images for which she is best known. But over the course of her career, Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) also made a very limited number of portraits. Beauford Delaney (1901-1979) was her most frequent sitter. She made five portraits of the artist—three charcoal...
City of Chicago Pulls Kerry James Marshall Painting From Christie's Auction After Public Outcry and Artist's Objection to Sale

City of Chicago Pulls Kerry James Marshall Painting From Christie’s Auction After Public Outcry and Artist’s Objection to Sale

“Knowledge and Wonder” (1995) by Kerry James Marshall.   CHRISTIE’S WON’T BE SELLING “Knowledge and Wonder” by Kerry James Marshall after all. The 1995 site-specific mural was commissioned by the City of Chicago for the Legler Branch Library, where it was on display for more than two decades. On Oct. 1, the auction house announced...
Sotheby's Estimates 'The Businessmen,' a 1947 Painting by Jacob Lawrence, Will Sell for More than $1.5 Million

Sotheby’s Estimates ‘The Businessmen,’ a 1947 Painting by Jacob Lawrence, Will Sell for More than $1.5 Million

“The Businessmen” (1947) by Jacob Lawrence   THE WHITE HOUSE ACQUISITION TRUST purchased “The Builders” by Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) from Christie’s auction house on May 24, 2007. A few months later, First Lady Laura Bush had already incorporated the 1947 painting into her renovation of the Green Room, a formal sitting room on the State...
Charles White Drawing Tops Swann African American Art Sale, 12 Artists Achieve Auction Records

Charles White Drawing Tops Swann African American Art Sale, 12 Artists Achieve Auction Records

  DAYS BEFORE THE OPENING of “Charles White: A Retrospective” at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York on Oct. 7, a dramatic drawing by the pivotal, 20th-century figure topped the latest African-American Fine Art sale at Swann Auction Galleries. “Nobody Knows My Name #1” sold for $485,000 (including fees) on Oct. 4....
Early Rashid Johnson Photograph Covers Swann's Fall African American Art Catalog

Early Rashid Johnson Photograph Covers Swann’s Fall African American Art Catalog

“Jonathan with Hands” (1997) by Rashid Johnson   A DRAMATICALLY LIT, close-cropped portrait by Rashid Johnson covers the catalog for the African-American Fine Art sale at Swann Auction Galleries on Oct. 4. Johnson’s subject obscures his face with his hands, which are the focus of the image. The gesture is emotional and his fingers—their knuckles...