Charles White’s Take My Mother Home to make $350,000?

Take My Mother Home (1957), a striking pen and ink drawing by Charles White (1918-1979), is primed to make up to $350,000.

It will headline a sale of African-American art at Swann Auction Galleries on October 5.

Charles White Mother

Charles White specialised in delicate figurative drawings 

The work is consigned from the collection of legendary calypso singer Harry Belafonte, who was one of White’s longstanding patrons.

The title is in reference to an African-American spiritual, which Belafonte recorded a version of in 1956.

Belafonte also wrote the foreword to White’s 1967 book Images of Dignity, where he explains his passion for White's work.

“In a period when many artists have deserted reality for the various schools of nonobjectivity and abstractionism, Mr. White has continued to work for broader horizons of human expression and to explore deeper dimensions of truth and reality,” said the singer.

This is the most significant piece by White to head to auction since another drawing titled Work (1953) achieved $306,000 in 2011.

At five feet in height it’s among the largest in his catalogue.

Henry Ossowa Tanner’s Flight into Egypt (circa 1920-1925) is valued at around $300,000.

Like much of Tanner’s work, the painting is inspired by a story from the Bible – in this case Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus escaping the clutches of King Herod.

It’s a theme Tanner (1859-1937) revisited often. He painted 15 versions of this scene between 1899 and 1932.

Tanner was the first African-American artist to achieve success overseas. He left America for France in the early 1890s, after finding the racism in American society unendurable.

While he encountered similar discrimination France, he was able to build a successful career there.

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