The Spring 2020 exhibition at Essie Green Galleries will focus on the recent attention paid to African-American artists, and their rise in prominence in museums and in the marketplace. With a deep and historic connection between the gallery owner, Sherman Edmiston, and prominent African-American artists, the Spring exhibition is sure to be a feast for our eyes.
Edmiston recently commented on a collection of artwork that once adorned the offices of the legendary Johnson Publishing Company (Ebony Magazine). ” The collection achieved record high sales January 30th, 2020 at Swann Galleries. All of the 87 lots sold—reaching a total of $2.7 million, more than doubling the expected high estimate.”
He continues, “Notably, 51 of the 87 lots in the sale set new auction records for the artists,including Loïs Mailou Jones’s, Bazar Du Quai, Port Au Prince, Haiti (1961), which sold for $75,000, a record for the artist at auction; Richard Mayhew’s, Departure (2006), which fetched $233,000, three times its high estimate; and Elizabeth Catlett’s cast bronze sculpture, Sister (1973), which sold for $175,000. Henry Ossawa Tanner’s, Moonrise by Kasbah (Morocco) (1912) sold for $365,000, the second highest price for his work at auction and considerably over its $250,000 high estimate.”
“An additional 22 lots marked artists’ auction debuts. Among them was a portrait of boxing legend Jack Johnson by Robin Harper (who now goes by the name Kwasi Seitu Asantu) the work sold $185,000, 35 times its high estimate. The image ran on the cover of Ebony magazine in March 1978 for an issue dedicated to heavyweight champions. Also Barbara Johnson Zuber’s, Jump Rope (ca. 1970), sold for $87,500 against a high estimate of $1,500. Zuber, who died in 2019, was the first African American woman to graduate with a BA from Yale University.” “The estimates may appear conservative after these auction results. So many of the artists featured in the sale had few, if any, public auction histories which is not unusual in the highly skewed art market, where artists of color, and black artists in particular, have been systemically overlooked or undervalued for decades.”
Essie Green Galleries has an extensive personal collection, featuring the work not only of Romare Bearden, but also Charles Alston, Lois Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Charles Ethan Porter, Edwin Bannister, Allen Stringfellow, Sam Gilliam, Alma Thomas, William S. Carter and many others. They are considered a premier gallery, specializing in the works of Black Masters.
The Essie Green Galleries is a contributor and exhibitor in many institutions including The Smithsonian, The High Museum, The Schomburg and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Much of the work depicts life in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. ~ The last two decades of Bearden’s life in the Caribbean are well represented in his later work. All of this work shows the rich history of the African American culture.
Essie Green Galleries Spring Exhibition will run from February 29 through April 4, 2020, with an Opening Reception on Saturday, February 29th from 3:30 to 6:00pm, located at 419A Convent Avenue, Sugar Hill, NYC.