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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
Forthcoming Swann Sale Features Selections by Artists Associated With Los Angeles, Including 5 Paintings by Ernie Barnes

Forthcoming Swann Sale Features Selections by Artists Associated With Los Angeles, Including 5 Paintings by Ernie Barnes

  LOS ANGELES was a site of inspiration and productivity for a number of artists represented in the forthcoming African-American Fine Art sale at Swann Auction Galleries in New York. The sale (originally scheduled for April 2 has been postponed) features lots by Charles White (1918-1979), David Hammons, Samella Lewis, Suzanne Jackson, ABDU, Richmond Barthé...
Works by Alma Thomas, Charles White, and Beauford Delaney Among Highlights at Christie's Contemporary Sale

Works by Alma Thomas, Charles White, and Beauford Delaney Among Highlights at Christie’s Contemporary Sale

  SPRING IS A RECURRING THEME in the abstract paintings of Alma Thomas (1891-1978), who lived and worked in Washington, D.C. Her rhythmic compositions were inspired by the rustling leaves on the Holly Tree outside the bay window in the front room of her home. Thomas also visited the National Arboretum to “get impressions,” as...
Record-Setting Painting by Noah Davis and Abstract Canvas by Ed Clark Top Phillips New Now Contemporary Art Auction

Record-Setting Painting by Noah Davis and Abstract Canvas by Ed Clark Top Phillips New Now Contemporary Art Auction

  A CAPTIVATING AND MYSTERIOUS SCENE painted by Noah Davis (1983-2015) attracted a whirlwind of bids yesterday. “In Search of Gallerius Maximumianus” (2009) far exceeded expectations ($60,000-$80,000) and sold for $400,000, fees included. The price was five times the high estimate and established a new artist record. Set March 4 at Phillips New Now sale,...
Bonhams Los Angeles is Auctioning the Estate of Diahann Carroll, Including Sculptures by Artis Lane and Ed Dwight

Bonhams Los Angeles is Auctioning the Estate of Diahann Carroll, Including Sculptures by Artis Lane and Ed Dwight

  AFTER HEARING HER SING HIS SONGS on national television, composer Irving Berlin (1888-1989) sent a note to Diahann Carroll. Typewritten on his personal letterhead, it was dated Feb. 7, 1968. Berlin wrote: “Dear Diahann Carroll, The way you sang those songs last night on the Tonight Show made me feel awfully good. With my...
Los Angeles Art Dealer Steve Turner is Auctioning Off His Extensive Collection of African Americana

Los Angeles Art Dealer Steve Turner is Auctioning Off His Extensive Collection of African Americana

“Mitchell’s Point, Looking Down the Columbia” (1887) by Grafton Tyler Brown   A MIDWEST AUCTION HOUSE is selling more than 300 items of African Americana from the collection of art dealer Steve Turner. In addition to operating a contemporary art gallery in Los Angeles, Turner has been collecting rare objects documenting African American history since...
Swann Auctions Johnson Publishing Art Collection, Yielding Countless Records and Closing Final Chapter of Iconic Company

Swann Auctions Johnson Publishing Art Collection, Yielding Countless Records and Closing Final Chapter of Iconic Company

  THE CHICAGO PUBLIC ART PROGRAM commissioned a seven-panel series of historic images by Carrie Mae Weems nearly 25 years ago. Composed of framed chromogenic prints and sandblasted text on glass, the untitled work was made in 1996-97 in an edition of three. The first set went to the Bee Branch of the Chicago Public...
Auction Results: Jordan Casteel's Portrait of Her 'Mom' Sold for Nearly $667K, Setting New World Record for Artist

Auction Results: Jordan Casteel’s Portrait of Her ‘Mom’ Sold for Nearly $667K, Setting New World Record for Artist

  IN LONDON, when the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale got underway on Feb. 12, the first lot was a serene, painterly portrait of a black woman. “Mom” (2013) by Jordan Casteel, is a portrait of Lauren Young Casteel, the artist’s mother. Expected to yield 180,000-250,000 British Pounds, the painting sold for twice the...
Amoako Boafo is Latest Young Black Artist to Make Major Auction Debut

Amoako Boafo is Latest Young Black Artist to Make Major Auction Debut

  A RECENT PAINTING by Amoako Boafo portrays a woman with gray hair gathered on top of her head in a loose Afro puff. She’s lounging on a pool float, wearing a white one-piece bathing suit covered with a leafy lemon print. Her lips are red and a pair of sunglasses shields her eyes from...
Paintings by 20th Century Giants Alma Thomas, Norman Lewis, and Charles White Smashed Auction Records at Evening Sales in New York

Paintings by 20th Century Giants Alma Thomas, Norman Lewis, and Charles White Smashed Auction Records at Evening Sales in New York

  THREE GIANTS of 20th century American art were represented in the evening auctions of contemporary art at Sotheby’s and Christie’s for the first time in November. The auction houses offer only a few dozen works in their evening auctions and the coveted slots are reserved for premier works by important artists. Significant works by...
Kerry James Marshall's 'Past Times' Painting Was Among Stars at Lavish 50th Birthday Party of Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs

Kerry James Marshall’s ‘Past Times’ Painting Was Among Stars at Lavish 50th Birthday Party of Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs

  BEFORE HE TURNED 50, Grammy award-winning music producer, entertainment mogul, and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs bought the most expensive painting by a living African American artist at auction. Earlier this month, Combs threw himself a huge 50th birthday bash and the painting, “Past Times” (1997) by Kerry James Marshall, served as a backdrop for...
Kerry James Marshall Painting Goes For Nearly $18.5 Million at Sotheby's, Second-Highest Price at Auction for a Work by a Living African American Artist

Kerry James Marshall Painting Goes For Nearly $18.5 Million at Sotheby’s, Second-Highest Price at Auction for a Work by a Living African American Artist

  AN IMAGE OF BLACK LOVE by Kerry James Marshall was highly sought this week. Nearly six-feet tall, “Vignette 19” (2014) depicts three couples captured in a park-like vignette framed with strokes of pink and a glittery heart. Offered at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Nov. 14 in New York, the painting was expected...
Saint Louis Art Museum Has Acquired 'Seated Woman,' Elizabeth Catlett's Record-Setting Sculpture

Saint Louis Art Museum Has Acquired ‘Seated Woman,’ Elizabeth Catlett’s Record-Setting Sculpture

  A CARVED MAHOGANY sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) set a new artist record in New York this week. “Seated Woman” (1962) sold for $389,000 (fees included) at Swann Auction Galleries African-American Fine Art sale on Oct. 8. “Elizabeth Catlett was especially deserving of a new record, and ‘Seated Woman’ was the perfect work to...
Paintings by Hurvin Anderson and Mark Bradford Among Top Lots at Phillips London Evening Sale, New Records Set by Simone Leigh and Derek Fordjour

Paintings by Hurvin Anderson and Mark Bradford Among Top Lots at Phillips London Evening Sale, New Records Set by Simone Leigh and Derek Fordjour

  FAMILY EXPERIENCES inspire much of Hurvin Anderson‘s work. A mix of figuration and abstraction his paintings draw on memory and often depict specific places and singular moments. Anderson’s sister emigrated to Canada from the UK. “Beaver Lake” (1998) portrays her and her child at the Alberta lake. Made early in the artist’s career, “Beaver...
Fast-Rising Artist Derek Fordjour Set a New Auction Record at Phillips New York

Fast-Rising Artist Derek Fordjour Set a New Auction Record at Phillips New York

  PHILLIPS BEGAN the fall auction season with its New Now sale and the results yielded an artist record for Derek Fordjour. “Agency and Regulation (study)” (2016) was estimated to sell for $40,000-$60,000, and the painting more than doubled high expectations reaching $137,500 (fees included). The new benchmark was established Sept. 24 in New York....