African American Family Portrait Collection Earns $73,200, Leads At CRN Auctions

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Perhaps unique, 15 watercolor portraits of a single African American family, painted by a descendant of a slave, sold as a lot for $73,200 at CRN’s November 6 sale. The untrained artist, Sarah Ray Bryant, was the daughter of Nelson Ray who had been born into slavery in 1820. Done in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, many of the portraits were identified. The sale also included early American furniture from the collection of G.W. Samaha, topped by a Chippendale reverse serpentine Boston or Salem mahogany chest of drawers, which earned $29,280. Other paintings included a pair of portraits of Black cotton-pickers by William Aiken Walker. There were several lots of Chinese export porcelains, scholar’s rocks, scrimshaw and more. Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium; watch for a full report in an upcoming issue.

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