Inspiration,  The Artist

A Look At Art From Dr. Maya Angelou’s Art Collection or How To Spend $1.3 Million At An Auction

Selections from the art collection of beloved Dr. Maya Angelou sold for a record $1.3 million.

The auction of Dr. Maya Angelou’s Art Collection was held September 15th at the esteemed Swann Auction house in NYC.

Dr. Maya Angelou was an impassioned collector of paintings, sculpture, works on paper and significant artworks from preeminent African American artists.  She had personal relationships with many of the artists and her vast collection of over 500 artworks chronicles significant moments in African American history.

“Each piece she acquired spoke to her. She loved to sit and study her art and wonder what dreams or nightmares inspired the artist to create it.”  

Guy Johnson, Maya Angelou’s son

Auctions at the Swann Auction House are always exciting but I would have loved to see this collection in person and be a fly on the wall during the sale.

Some of my favorite artist works were included in the sale.  Here are my highlights from the sale:

Kumasi Mart, John Biggers - Maya's art collectionKumasi Market by John Biggers, 1962 – Oil and acrylic on masonite board.  Sold for $389,000

Maya's Quilt-of-life - Faith Ringgold - Maya's Art Collection

Maya’s Quilt of Life by Faith Ringgold, 1989 was purchased by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  Sold for  $461,000

Details - Maya's Quilt of life - Faith Ringgold

The Quilt is Acrylic on canvas and painted, dyed and pieced fabrics.  This painted quilt story is a tribute to the universal wisdom and strength of Dr. Maya Angelou.  It was a gift from Oprah Winfrey.


Maya Angelou by Jean Moutoussamy-Ashe - Maya's Art collectionPortrait of Dr. Maya Angelou by Jean Moutoussamy-Ashe Sold for $17,500


Melvin Edwards - OWWA - Maya's Art CollectionOWWA by Melvin Edwards – Welded steel sculpture presented to Dr. Angelou by the Organization of Women Writers in 2011. Sold for $40,000

Rooster - Romare Bearden - Maya's Art collection“Rooster” by Romare Bearden, 1985 – a watercolor.

Sold for  $21,250

the Obeahs Choice- Romare Bearden - Maya's Art Collection The Obeah’s Choice by Romare Bearden, 1984 a watercolor Sold  for $87,000

These artworks are a glimpse of personal items that surrounded the private quarters of such a public and beloved woman.  Her son Guy Johnson had this to say about his mother, Dr. Angelou:

“It was my mother’s belief that the presence of art and creativity in a person’s daily life broadened his or her perspective of the world around them.”

I couldn’t of said it better.  That’s why I invest in art.

There were 40+ artworks from the estate of Dr. Maya Angelou that were sold at the recent auction for $1.3 million.  It’s been recorded that her extensive collection included over 500 works of art.

Bravo Dr. Angelou!  

I’m glad to share some of what was auctioned.

Until next time …

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