New York – The Swann Galleries LGBTQ+ Art, Material Culture & History auction will be held on Thursday, August 18. In its fourth iteration and fifth year, the auction continues to deliver exceptional work by LGBTQ+ artists, creatives and activists.
At the forefront of sales is Oscar Wilde The picture of Dorian Gray, London, 1891 – one of 250 original copies signed by the author and rebound in modern red morocco by Robert Wu in 2019 ($25,000-35,000). Other works referring to Wilde include an 1893 autograph letter offering a minor role to a friend’s daughter Lady Windermere’s fan ($6,000-9,000) and an 1882 silver print portrait of the author by Napoleon Sarony ($2,000-3,000).
Additional literary material includes a signed and inscribed first edition of Tennessee Williams’ Great1964 ($500-700), a 1990 autograph note signed by Allen Ginsberg ($100-200), and a first edition of the work of Nazi-persecuted sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld from the turn of the century yearbookHardcover in ten volumes ($800-1,200), alongside a selection of gay and lesbian pulp fiction from the 1950s and 1960s, photographs by Walt Whitman, and a selection of early printed and 20th-century titles.
Continuing Tom of Finland’s success in the house’s previous sales is a series of original illustrations and ephemera by the artist. Remarkably Portrait of Eric, a 1985 graphite-on-paper work along with two autograph letters to the person who commissioned the drawing ($20,000-30,000); and two preparatory graphite drawings from the late 1960s and late 1980s ($7,000–$10,000 each); as well as a selection of prints. Ephemera related to Tom of Finland features flyers and posters illustrated by Finland for Tom’s Saloon, the famous Hamburg fetish and leather bar ($600-900), Falcon’s Lair in Los Angeles ($700-1,000) and the fourth annual review for American Uniform Club ($1,500-2,500); Other items include Tom of Finland temporary tattoos for the 1980s ($100-150) and a vintage 1990s t-shirt and swim trunks ($150-250). The auction also includes several works by artists associated with or influenced by Tom of Finland, including Sadao Hasegawa, George Quaintance, Jim French, and Rex and Etienne.
Art and photography are represented throughout the auction, led by a series of silver prints by Peter Hujar Torso (Keith Cameron)1981 ($15,000-25,000), platinum print by David Wojnarowicz on laid paper Untitled (Buffalo)1988-89, printed 1992 ($10,000-15,000), Angus McBean’s hand-colored silver print Surrealistic beach scene with male figurecirca 1949 ($18,000-22,000), and Andrew Lamar Hopkins with The New Orleans home of two confirmed #2 bachelorsAcrylic, 2014 ($12,000-18,000). Other sale favorites include Hugh Steers on sale edge of truthOil on paper, 1994 ($6,000-9,000), prints and drawings by Keith Haring, photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe and works by JEB (Joan E. Biren), Freddie Styles, Paul Cadmus, David Hockney and others.
Native photographs, ephemera celebrating LGBTQ+ life and historical footage from the early years of the gay liberation movement in the United States through the AIDS epidemic will be on display throughout the auction. Highlights include a 1969 Memorial Day poster outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall that reads “Gay People Are American Citizens Too” ($4,000-$6,000); Brochures and magazines, including 12 issues of gay flames ca. 1970 ($400-600), five issues of the Slovenian quarterly Lesbo Magazine from 1997 to 1999 ($500-750) and a small archive of an unnamed lesbian activist with material on second wave feminism, women’s liberation and pro-lesbian political and artistic works and publications ($800-1,200); and from the collection of Silence=Death Collective founder Chris Lione is a rare first print by silence = death before the image was given to ACT UP ($15,000-20,000), along with sketches for original Collective member Oliver Johnston’s Silence=Death design provided by the organization ($1,500-2,000).
A portion of the sale will benefit The Lesbian Herstory Archives. Established in the 1970s, the Archive’s mission is to collect and preserve records of lesbian life and activities so that future generations can have easy access to materials relevant to their lives.
The exhibition times are from 13 to 16 August from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Live online bidding platforms are the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable and Live Auctioneers. This sale includes a limited edition catalog available for purchase. The full catalog and listing information is available at www.swanngalleries.com and the Swann Galleries App.