Queer Art and Historical Ephemera Up for Auction at Swann

Vincent Cianni, “Marsha P. Johnson & Sylvia Rivera marching, NYC Gay Pride” (1987), silver print, printed later. Estimate $1,000–$1,200.

Swann Galleries’s third annual auction dedicated to the art, material culture, and history of the LGBTQ+ community will be held on August 19, bringing to market both familiar artists as well as fresh, unusual, and infrequently seen material. Among the art highlights are several original works by Tom of Finland, including two preparatory drawings and a completed color pencil work, “Home—Secured” (1982); four oil paintings by Hugh Steers; three drawings by Gerda Wegener; and a run of material by Keith Haring. A significant section of important photographic works includes prints by Diane Arbus, Peter Hujar, JEB, Robert Mapplethorpe, and many more.

Early material features a very unusual group of historical Oscar Wilde advertising cards dating to his first tour around America in 1882. 20th-century material sees a group of gay rights fliers issued in the weeks after Stonewall in 1969 by the Mattachine Society, two greeting cards issues by the short-lived Third World Gay Liberation Group (a splinter group of the Gay Liberation Front), and an invitation to a Gay Independence Day Picnic thrown by the Madison Gay Liberation Front in 1973. A 1989 20th anniversary of Stonewall postcard with the “first ever gay-related US Post Office cancellation,” vintage posters for the St. Marks Baths, The Wall Street Sauna, and a collection of posters by “fierce pussy” represent material from the late 1980s.

Literature will include Lord Alfred Douglas’s My Friendship with Oscar Wilde (1932), New York, a select run of lesbian pulp fiction as well as a group of lesbian studies and literature first editions from 1929 to 1984, and a group of five signed titles by Tennessee Williams.

Visit catalogue.swanngalleries.com to learn more about Swann Galleries’s August 19 auction.

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