Many auction records for works by African American artists were achieved at Swann Galleries' October 7 auction of African American fine art. Most notably, Norman Lewis's untitled abstract expressionist oil on canvas, circa 1960-64, sold to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) for $312,000 — the highest price ever realized at auction for an abstract painting by a Modern African American artist and an auction record for any work by the artist.
The MFA also acquired Walter Augustus Simon's "715 Washington Street, Greenwich Village," an abstract oil on canvas, 1947, for an artist record $36,000; and Hughie Lee-Smith's "The Juggler #1," oil on canvas, circa 1964, for $90,000.
Nigel Freeman, director of the African American fine art department at Swann, said, "Especially in light of the current economic situation, we are thrilled with the results of the auction, the fourth conducted by our new department in less than two years. There was an unprecedented level of participation by museums, indicating a recognition of the scarcity and quality of the works now coming to sale at Swann."