Acumen and Art - The Summer Quarterly Auction, June 17th

Years ago, Herb Jackson, a long time leader in the Davidson College Art Department, made a wise decision for the future of Davidson’s art collection. An opportunity arose to accept donations of duplicate prints and photographs of works that had already been gifted to the school in previous decades. Jackson recognized the opportunity in accepting these duplicate works with the intent to one day deaccession them to raise funds for new acquisitions. With the resulting funds, Davidson could broaden its collection.

Davidson decided several years ago to move forward in selling the duplicate works, and they considered proposals from various national auction houses before ultimately selecting Leland Little Auctions. Lauren Sanford, Leland Little’s Director of Prints and Multiples, has now organized the collection of approximately 225 works into a special auction titled Contemporary Prints and Photographs from the Davidson College Art Collection, which is open for bidding from June 7-14. Sanford says, “What’s great about this sale is that prints and photographs, by their nature, can be duplicated, so you can see impressions of these works at Davidson and still have the chance to take one home as well.”

“When I first looked through the collection, I was amazed at how striking each of these works is,” Sanford says. Among the photographs, she points particularly to those by Barbara Morgan (1900-1992), one of America’s greatest dance photographers. Morgan’s iconic images of the legendary Martha Graham Dance Company enhance this auction. Other standouts in the sale include color photography by master William Eggleston (b. 1939); the gorgeous, almost tender black-and-white urban images by New York photographer Jay Jaffee (1921-1999); and the immigrant artist Leopold Hugo’s (1872-1933) ethereal landscapes.
Many of the screenprints and lithographs featured in this auction are of unusual size. “They draw your attention from across the room,” Sanford says. The prints we are offering include several by English Pop artist Patrick Caulfield (1936-2005), whose boldly colorful work was the subject of a Tate Britain exhibition in 2013. Caulfield’s prints—bright, vibrant, and punchy—stand out in any space, a natural focus for the eye.

Sanford is also enamored of the Howard Hodgkin (1932-2017) print series titled Indian Views: what she calls “mental snapshots” of scenes Hodgkin viewed through windows of trains moving across India. These enticing, warm pieces are on the increase in collectability since the artist’s death earlier this year.

It’s not only the colors of these prints, which are offered unframed, that are striking. “The surfaces of these graphic works are really nice, and some incorporate texture.” Sanford says, “We are delighted to sell this beautiful collection on behalf of the school.”