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Old Master and Modern Prints at Swann
Swann Galleries’ Thursday, November 12 sale of Old Master Through Modern Prints brought in “a strong turnout of new buyers and bidding was aggressive for modern American prints and many other exceptional prices for Old Masters and modern European graphics,” said Todd Weyman, the house’s specialist for the sale.
The sale was led by the record-setting New York, a scarce 1925 lithograph by Louis Lozowick. Only three impressions of the work had been seen at auction in the past 30 years, leading to an auction record for any print by the artist at $81,250. The previous record for Lozowick was set by Swann in 2014 when Traffic, 1930, sold for $42,500.
Other American printmakers included Martin Lewis with two 1930 drypoints of New York scenes: an evening summer scene in Shadow Dance, which crossed the block at $45,000, and a frigid winter moment with Stoops in Snow, which earned $32,500; Edward Hopper’s Night Shadows, etching, 1921, reached $25,000; and Paul Cadmus’s Going South, 1934, at $21,250—a record for the etching.
Rembrandt van Rijn led the Old Master offering with the early etching A Beggar Seated on a Bank, 1630, likely a self-portrait, at $37,500. Also by the Dutch master was The Descent from the Cross: Second Plate, etching, 1633, which saw $37,500, and Christ before Pilate: Large Plate, etching, 1635, at $20,000. Albrecht Dürer was present with Hercules, or the Effects of Jealousy, engraving, 1498, which sold for $25,000.
European stalwarts featured prints by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Maurits C. Escher. Picasso's works featured a portrait of a young woman Buste au Corsage à Carreaux, lithograph, 1957, which brought $32,500, and Les Saltimbanques, a 1922 color aquatint of two young acrobats, at $15,000. Highlights from the Miró offerings included the abstract scenes: Série Noire et Rouge, color etching, 1938, earning $25,000; Danseuse Créole, color aquatint, 1978, earning $23,750; and Les Trois Sœurs, etching, 1938, at $17,500. Escher’s 1944 tessellation Encounter, seemingly demonstrating evolution, realized $17,500.