Visionary African American art for sale

In the run-up to its African Americana Printed & Manuscript auction on February 25, Swann Auction Galleries is holding a sale dedicated to African American fine art.

Among the artworks for sale is Sargent Claude Johnson's (1888-1967) Untitled (Standing Woman), consigned by a friend of the artist from his native San Francisco.

 Sargent Claude Johnson's Untitled
(Standing Woman)

Consignor Arthur W Hanna met Sargent Johnson shortly after the former's military service in 1945, when both men were early residents of the soon-to-be bohemian North Beach neighborhood.

Sargent Johnson had set up his studio a few blocks down from a local hardware store, where the pair became friends.

This unique sculpture is an outstanding example of Johnson's work in the early-1930s, and is closely related to his Standing Woman, held in the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.

The Hanna figure bears similarities to Standing Woman, while exemplifying Johnson's aesthetic interests in both modernism and African sculpture.

At a time when artistic representations of working African-American women were largely cartoonish, Johnson elevated the strength and dignity of everyday African-American women with his art.

It will auction with an estimate of $30,000-50,000, on February 23.


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