Monday, March 21, 2011

AUCTION: Aaron Douglas Stenciled Placard / Swann Galleries / SOLD March 13, 2011

Swann Galleries Auction description:

Sale 2239 Lot 141
UNIQUE DOUGLAS STENCIL (ART.) [DOUGLAS, AARON.] THURMAN, WALLACE. Edward A. Blatt Presents "Harlem," a thrilling play of the black belt. Black and white stencil on composite board, 19-7/8 x 13-1/8 inches; some discoloration to the blank margins where originally framed. New York: Apollo Theatre, 1929.
Estimate $7,500-10,000
SOLD FOR $15,000
A beautiful stenciled placard by Aaron Douglas done for the opening of his good friend Wallace Thurman's play, "Harlem," at the Apollo Theatre. Quite likely unique. When the play opened on February 20, 1929, its title had been changed to "Harlem," a play of Negro Life in "New York's Harlem." So this placard, was probably never used. The silhouettes in th is placard are an artistic device frequently used by Aaron Douglas in the 1920s. Similar figures appear in Opportunity Magazine's portfolio of Langston Hughes's poetry (1926) and the dust jackets for several books including James Weldon Johnson's "God's Trombones" (1926) and Claude McKay's "Banjo" (1929)."Harlem" was anything but a success. In fact, it put Thurman, and William Jourdan Rapp, co-producers of the play in debt. Rapp was editor of True Magazine, a lurid publication for which Thurman occasionally wrote under various pseudonyms.

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