Johnson Publishing Auction Makes Three Million in Sales

Above: BARBARA JOHNSON ZUBER (1926 – 2019)
Jump Rope. Oil on cotton canvas, circa 1970. 762×1524 mm; 30×60 inches. Signed in oil, lower right

Sale total: $2,967,055 (Hammer: $2,394,500)

Estimates for sale as a whole: $800,300-$1,229,850

We offered 87 lots; 87 sold (100% sell-through rate by lot)

All prices include Buyer’s Premium.

Top lots ​​​​​​​​​Prices with buyer’s premium

1*​Henry Ossawa Tanner, Moonrise by Kasbah (Morocco), oil on canvas, 1912. ​​​$365,000

85†​Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled, seven panels of framed chromogenic prints & sandblasted text ​$305,000

​on glass, 1996-97.

87†​Richard Mayhew, Departure, oil on canvas, 2006.​​​​​​$233,000

83§​Robin Harper, Jack Johnson, oil on canvas, 1970. ​​​​​​$185,000

50§​Dindga McCannon, The Last Farewell, oil on canvas, 1970. ​​​​​$161,000

77​Elizabeth Catlett, Sister, cast bronze, with brushed patina & white inlaid eyes, mounted on ​$149,000

​wood base, 1973.

33†​Walter H. Williams, White Butterfly, oil on canvas, 1969.​​​​​$125,000

13†​Thomas Sills, Red Berries, oil on canvas, 1959.​​​​​​$106,250

51§​Barbara Johnson Zuber, Jump Rope, oil on canvas, circa 1970.​​​​​$87,500

55​Kenneth Victor Young, Upper Egypt, acrylic on canvas, 1971.​​​​​$87,500

9†​Loïs Mailou Jones, Bazar Du Quai, Port Au Prince, Haiti, oil on canvas, 1961.​​​$75,000

Key:​† = Auction Record for the Artist; § = Auction Debut; * = Second Highest Price at Auction

Additional highlights can be found here.

Information about additional artist records available on request.

Comment from Nigel Freeman, Director of African-American Fine Art at Swann Galleries:

“The sale of the Johnson Publishing Company’s collection was the perfect storm of an auction—a prestigious name sale anchored with significant works by important artist, but with a wonderful new group of artists fresh to the secondary market, providing numerous opportunities for collectors. It was an honor and a thrill to close this chapter of the Johnson Publishing Company’sillustrious history with a perfect sale of their works. It was a simply amazing result!”

Comment from Nicholas D. Lowry, President of Swann Auction Galleries:

“An auctioneer can wait for an entire career to have a sale like today’s, but when it happens it is a transcendent feeling—a validation of all our strength together. From a technical point of view the fact that an 87-lot auction took 3.5 hours is an indication of interest, and bidding was electric, but from an artistic point of view it was a perfect confluence of events: material, auction house and the best clients.”


Lot 1: Henry Ossawa Tanner, Moonrise by Kasbah (Morocco), oil on canvas, 1912. Sold for $365,00.

Lot 85: Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled, detail, seven panels of framed chromogenic prints & sandblasted text

on glass, 1996-97. Sold for 305,000, a record for the artist.

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