NEW YORK — Swann Galleries’ LGBTQ+ Art, Material Culture & History sale will be held Thursday, August 18. In its fourth iteration and entering its fifth year, the sale continues to deliver exceptional works by LGBTQ+ artists, creatives and activists. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Leading the sale is Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, published in London in 1891 — one of 250 original copies signed by the author and re-bound in modern full red Morocco leather by Robert Wu in 2019. Its estimate is $25,000-$35,000. Further works in the sale lineup relating to Wilde include an 1893 autograph letter, estimated at $6,000-$9,000, offering a friend’s daughter a minor role in Lady Windermere’s Fan, and an 1882 silver print portrait of the author by Napoleon Sarony, estimated at $2,000-$3,000.
Additional literary material includes a signed and inscribed 1964 first edition of Tennessee Williams’ Grand, estimated at $500-$700; a 1990 autograph note signed by Allen Ginsberg, estimated at $100-$200; and a first edition of Nazi-persecuted sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld’s turn-of-the-century work Jahrbuch, bound in 10 volumes and estimated at $800-$1,200. These are offered alongside a selection of gay and lesbian pulp fiction novels from the 1950s and 1960s, photographs of Walt Whitman, and a selection of early printed and 20th-century titles.
Continuing the success of Tom of Finland in the house’s previous sales is a run of original illustrations and ephemera by the artist. Of note is Portrait of Eric, a 1985 graphite-on-paper work, offered with two autograph letters addressed to the person who commissioned the drawing, together estimated at $20,000-
$30,000; and two graphite preparatory drawings from the late 1960s and the late 1980s, estimated at $7,000-$10,000 each; as well as a selection of prints.
Tom of Finland-related ephemera features flyers and posters illustrated by Finland for Tom’s Saloon, the famous Hamburg fetish and leather bar (est. $600-$900); Los Angeles’ Falcon’s Lair (est. $700-$1,000); and the fourth annual review for the American Uniform Association (est. $1,500-$2,500). Additional items include Tom of Finland temporary tattoos from the 1980s, estimated at $100-$150, and a vintage t-shirt and swim trunks set from the 1990s, estimated at $150-$250. The auction also features several works by artists associated with or influenced by Tom of Finland, including Sadao Hasegawa, George Quaintance, Jim French and Rex and Etienne.
Fine art and photography feature throughout the sale with a run of silver prints by Peter Hujar led by the 1981 image Torso (Keith Cameron), estimated at $15,000-$25,000; David Wojnarowicz’s platinum print on rag paper Untitled (Buffaloes), created in 1988-89, printed in 1992, and estimated at $10,000-$15,000; Angus McBean’s hand-colored circa-1949 silver print Surrealist Beach Scene with a Male Figure, estimated at $18,000-$22,000; and Andrew Lamar Hopkins with the 2014 acrylic The New Orleans Home of Two Confirmed Bachelors #2, estimated at $12,000-$18,000.
Additional sale favorites include Hugh Steers with the 1994 oil on paper Edge of the Truth, estimated at $6,000-$9,000, as well as Keith Haring prints and drawings, Robert Mapplethorpe photographs, and works by JEB (Joan E. Biren), Freddie Styles, Paul Cadmus and David Hockney.
Vernacular photographs, ephemera celebrating LGBTQ+ life and historical material from the early years of the gay liberation movement in the United States through the AIDS epidemic feature throughout the auction. Highlights include a placard from the 1969 Annual Reminder day held in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall that reads “Homosexuals are American Citizens Too,” estimated at $4,000-$6,000; pamphlets and periodicals, including 12 issues of Gay Flames, dating to circa 1970 and estimated at $400-$600; five issues of the Slovenian quarterly Lesbo Magazine from 1997 to 1999, estimated at $500-$750, and a small archive from an unnamed lesbian activist featuring material related to second-wave feminism, women’s liberation and pro-lesbian political and artistic works and publications, estimated at $800-$1,200.
From the collection of Silence=Death Collective founder Chris Lione is a first printing of Silence=Death before the image was given to ACT UP. Its estimate is $15,000-$20,000. It is offered alongside sketches for the Silence=Death design by original Collective member Oliver Johnston, consigned by the organization and estimated at $1,500-$2,000.
A portion of the sale will benefit The Lesbian Herstory Archives. Founded in the 1970s, the archives’ mission is to gather and preserve records of lesbian lives and activities so that future generations will have ready access to materials relevant to their lives.
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