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We Know Why This Is Going To Be A Cool Auction: The Art Collection Of Dr. Maya Angelou

Fifty works owned by poet-author-activist Dr. Maya Angelou will be up for auction on September 15 at Swann Auction Galleries in New York.

Here’s a look at a few of our favorite pieces. And we’re saving the best for last.

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Faith Ringgold, Maya’s Quilt of Life, acrylic on canvas with pieced fabric border, 1989. Estimate US$150,000 to US$250,000; Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

From Swann Auction Galleries: “[This] piece inspired by Dr. Angelou is a story quilt by Faith Ringgold titled Maya’s Quilt of Life, 1989, (estimate: US$150,000 to US$250,000). A quintessential example of Ringgold’s intricate art form, the quilt was commissioned by Oprah Winfrey as a birthday gift for Dr. Angelou, and includes text from her poems and memoirs. This is the first of Ringgold’s story quilts to come to auction.”

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John Biggers, Kumasi Market, oil and acrylic on masonite board, 1962. Estimate US$100,000 to US$150,000; Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

From Swann Auction Galleries: “As a longtime resident of North Carolina, Dr. Angelou collected works by many North Carolinian artists, including John Biggers. His bustling panoramic oil painting Kumasi Market, oil and acrylic on masonite board, 1962, reflects the artist’s experiences in Ghana in the late 1950s and highlights his focus on the societal importance of African women (US$100,000 to US$150,000).”

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Romare Bearden, The Obeah’s Choice (Le Choix de la Sorcière; Choua Manmbo-A), watercolor, 1984. Estimate US$20,000 to US$30,000; Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

From Swann Auction Galleries: “Several works from another North Carolina-born artist, Romare Bearden, whose work also frequently features strong female figures, are included in the sale. The third work from his Rituals of the Obeah exhibition to come to auction, the strikingly colorful watercolor The Obeah’s Choice, 1984 (US$20,000 to US$30,000), conjures the traditions and myths of Bearden’s second home on the Caribbean island of St. Martin.”

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Jonathan Green, Wading in the Surf, acrylic on masonite board, 1989. Estimate US$8,000 to US$12,000; Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

From Swann Auction Galleries: “Another highlight of the sale comes from a South Carolinian artist, Jonathan Green, whose painting Wading in the Surf, acrylic on masonite board, 1989 (US$8,000 to US$12,000), is inscribed ‘To Maya, Warmly.'”

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Maya Angelou, The Protector of Home and Family, oil on canvas board, 1969. Estimate US$15,000 to US$25,000; Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

From Swann Auction Galleries: “Rounding out the sale is a painting by Dr. Angelou herself, The Protector of Home and Family, oil on canvas, 1969 (US$15,000 to US$25,000). Painted shortly after the completion of her acclaimed autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Dr. Angelou’s painting is a strong visual statement of African-American women’s courage and strength.”

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Added the gallery: “The auction preview will be open to the public, with an exhibition open Wednesday, September 9 through Friday, September 11 from 10am to 6pm; Saturday, September 12 from noon to 5pm; Monday September 14 from 10am to 6pm; and Tuesday September 15 from 10am to noon.”

“An illustrated auction catalogue will be available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com,” the company said.

You can place your bids through Invaluable… or live bid via eBay.

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All images and quotes courtesy of Swann Galleries