BLACK ART AUCTION held its inaugural auction on May 16, 2020 during a global pandemic and began its journey with bidder #1. A little more than a calendar year later, at our most recent auction, The Melvin Holmes Collection of African American Art, we had nearly 1,500 total registered bidders. Buyers were major museums, advanced collectors, and young buyers just getting started collecting—bidding in their first auction.
With offices in Indianapolis and St Louis, Black Art Auction is solely dedicated to the sale of art by African Americans. Our goal is to increase awareness of the lives and work of these artists who have contributed historically, but in many cases, have been overlooked in the general art market. The vast majority of the material we sell is from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Black Art Auction has already established numerous price records for artists’ work. An oil on canvas by Charles White sold for a hammer price of $1,350,000 in our most recent auction, held on July 17, 2021, a world record price for a painting by the artist sold at auction.
In addition to the auction house, Black Art Auction now offers a private sales division. Owner Thom Pegg has operated Tyler Fine Art gallery in his hometown of St Louis since 1987, and recently merged the two businesses under the name Black Art Auction. The private sales division will offer individual works by many artists as well as selections from estates of artists represented by BAA.
Black Art Auction regularly produces scholarly essays and publications on individual works and on the work of particular artists. These are all available for free on our website. Some of these are available in a print version. Recently we have enlisted internationally recognized scholars to contribute essays about single works or artists. Barthe scholar, Dr. Margaret Vendryes wrote a fantastic single work monograph on the rare image of Josephine Baker, including ponytail (read here). Dr. Theresa Leininger-Miller, author of New Negro Artists in Paris: African American Painters and Sculptors in the City of Light, 1922-1934 wrote an essay on the work of Albert Alexander Smith (read here). Susan Stedman (Majors), who recently guest curated the Origins of Creating Community: Cinque Gallery Artists , for the Art Students League of New York, wrote an essay on the work of William Majors (read here).
All of us at Black Art Auction are very appreciative of the interest and enthusiasm from all the buyers, sellers, scholars, and fans of the great works we have had the opportunity to learn about and represent. We look forward to sharing with you the exciting opportunities this next year presents.