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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 Record: 1968 Beveled-Edge Painting Sets New High Mark for Sam Gilliam

Auction Record: 1968 Beveled-Edge Painting Sets New High Mark for Sam Gilliam

Detail of SAM GILLIAM, Untitled, 1968 featured in Contemporary Curated at Sotheby’s New York, March 2, 2018   FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY, Sam Gilliam he has had a relatively successful practice by any measure with critical recognition, regular exhibitions, and representation in museum collections. Known for his expressive abstraction and fluid use of...
Prominent Artists Are Donating Their Works to Help Support Studio Museum in Harlem's Building Project

Prominent Artists Are Donating Their Works to Help Support Studio Museum in Harlem’s Building Project

Clockwise, from top left, Sam Gilliam, Lorna Simpson, Mark Bradford, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Glenn Ligon Julie Mehretu, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Rashid Johnson. | via Sotheby’s   ARTISTS WITH CLOSE TIES to the Studio Museum in Harlem are donating works to support the historic institution’s construction campaign. Creating Space: Artists for The Studio Museum in Harlem:...
Mark Bradford 'Helter Skelter' Painting Sells for Nearly $12 Million, Highest-Ever Auction Price for Work by Living African American Artist

Mark Bradford ‘Helter Skelter’ Painting Sells for Nearly $12 Million, Highest-Ever Auction Price for Work by Living African American Artist

MARK BRADFORD, Detail of “Helter Skelter I,” 2007   A MONUMENTAL PAINTING by Mark Bradford reached a historic benchmark at Phillips London on March 8. “Helter Skelter I” sold for 8,671,500 British Pounds, about $10.4 million (nearly $12 million, including fees), an artist record, and the highest-ever auction price achieved by a living African American...
Hale Woodruff and Jacob Lawrence Offer Insights About African and African American Art in 1955 Letters to a College Student

Hale Woodruff and Jacob Lawrence Offer Insights About African and African American Art in 1955 Letters to a College Student

From left, Artists Hale Woodruff and Jacob Lawrence.   GATHERING RESEARCH FOR HER THESIS, a white North Carolina college student wrote to African American artists Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) and Hale Woodruff (1900-1980) more than six decades ago. She sought Lawrence’s view on the influence of Negro artists on American painting and, from Woodruff, insights about...
Auction Results: A Review of African American Art Featured in Sotheby's Fall 2017 Contemporary Auctions—Several Never Exhibited, Unseen For Decades

Auction Results: A Review of African American Art Featured in Sotheby’s Fall 2017 Contemporary Auctions—Several Never Exhibited, Unseen For Decades

  IN ANTICIPATION OF THE SPRING 2018 SALES at major auction houses in London this month, Culture Type is taking a look back at recent results at Sotheby’s. One of the benefits of observing auctions is the opportunity see works long held in private hands away from public view. The November 2017 Contemporary Day and...
Auction Record: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Painting Sells for More Than $1.5 million at Sotheby's, Shattering Artist's Previous High Mark

Auction Record: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Painting Sells for More Than $1.5 million at Sotheby’s, Shattering Artist’s Previous High Mark

“The Hours Behind You” (2011) by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye   A MESMERIZING IMAGE of five black women attracted record-breaking interest at Sotheby’s New York on Nov. 16. “The Hours Behind You” (2011) by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye sold for $1,575,000 (including fees), a world record for the British-Ghanaian painter, according to Sotheby’s sales results. Estimated to attract bids...
Auction Record: Kerry James Marshall's Imaginative Portrait of Harriet Tubman Reaches $5 million at Christie's New York

Auction Record: Kerry James Marshall’s Imaginative Portrait of Harriet Tubman Reaches $5 million at Christie’s New York

  A TENDER AND REVOLUTIONARY PORTRAIT of Harriet Tubman by Kerry James Marshall sold for more than $5 million last night at Christie’s New York. Titled “Still Life with Wedding Portrait,” the painting depicts the abolitionist posing with her first husband John Tubman. Interest in the 2015 painting far exceeded its $1 million to $1.5...
Auction Record: 2009 Painting by Titus Kaphar Sets New Benchmark at Phillips New York

Auction Record: 2009 Painting by Titus Kaphar Sets New Benchmark at Phillips New York

  A SCULPTURAL PAINTING by Titus Kaphar set an artist record today. “Tina Vesper,” a portrait of a Reconstruction-era woman who could pass for white, is partially shrouded with un-stretched canvas. The 2009 painting sold for $40,000 (including fees) at Phillips 20th Century and Contemporary Art Day Sale in New York, exceeding its estimate of...
Culture Talk: Arnold Lehman on Curating 'American African American,' a Selling Exhibition at Phillips London

Culture Talk: Arnold Lehman on Curating ‘American African American,’ a Selling Exhibition at Phillips London

  AMONG THE HALLMARKS of Arnold Lehman’s nearly two-decade tenure as director of the Brooklyn Museum was his focus on community engagement, popular culture, and the visibility of African American artists. After retiring in 2015, he transitioned from the museum world to the auction world, joining Phillips as a special adviser to the CEO, Edward...
Auction Record: With a 'Symbolic' Canvas, Henry Taylor Achieves a New Benchmark at Christie's London

Auction Record: With a ‘Symbolic’ Canvas, Henry Taylor Achieves a New Benchmark at Christie’s London

Lot 207: HENRY TAYLOR, “Untitled (Symbol),” 2007 (oil on canvas). | Estimate £30,000-£50,000 / $39,210-$65,350. Sold for £230,750 / $301,590 (including fees) RECORD   OVER THE PAST SEVERAL AUCTION SEASONS, paintings by Henry Taylor have been selling at steadily increasing prices, regularly setting incremental new records for the artist. Another benchmark was set on Oct....
Hurvin Anderson Paintings Attract Record-Breaking Interest at London Auctions

Hurvin Anderson Paintings Attract Record-Breaking Interest at London Auctions

Lot 18: HURVIN ANDERSON, “Country Club: Chicken Wire,” 2008 (oil on canvas). | Estimate $700,000-$1 million. Sold for $3,461,916 / £2,648,750 (including fees) RECORD   OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS, paintings by Hurvin Anderson were featured at Phillips, Sotheby’s, and Christie’s London auctions. The lots garnered record-breaking interest. On Oct. 6, Phillips sold “Peter’s...
Auction Record: At Phillips London, Barbershop Painting by Hurvin Anderson Soars to Nearly $2.4 Million

Auction Record: At Phillips London, Barbershop Painting by Hurvin Anderson Soars to Nearly $2.4 Million

Lot 6: HURVIN ANDERSON, “Peter’s Series: Back,” 2008 (oil on canvas). Estimate £600,000-£900,000. Sold for £1,809,000 / $2,387,880 (including fees) RECORD   A MAJOR PAINTING by Hurvin Anderson, a finalist for the 2017 Turner Prize, sold for nearly $2.4 million (including fees) at Phillips London last night. “Peter’s Series: Back” (2008) is an important work...
Auction Results: Painting is Alive and Well at Latest Swann African-American Fine Art Sale

Auction Results: Painting is Alive and Well at Latest Swann African-American Fine Art Sale

  BUYERS AT THURSDAY’S African-American Fine Art auction at Swann Auction Galleries in New York expressed significant interest in modern and contemporary painting. There was a broad selection to choose from with multiple offerings by celebrated painters Ed Clark, Beauford Delaney, Sam Gilliam, Lois Mailou Jones, Norman Lewis, and Hughie Lee-Smith, among others. The top...
Oct. 3: Culture Type Joins Swann Auction Galleries for a Discussion About 'New Voices in African American Fine Art'

Oct. 3: Culture Type Joins Swann Auction Galleries for a Discussion About ‘New Voices in African American Fine Art’

From left, Robert E. Holmes, Victoria Valentine, Nigel Freeman.   BEYOND THE INCONTROVERTIBLE INFLUENCE and authority of curators and scholars, professionals from a variety of backgrounds are playing increasingly important roles in preserving art and culture. To explore this phenomenon, Culture Type is joining Swann Auction Galleries for an Oct. 3 discussion about “New Voices...