Nigel Freeman is the director of the African-American Fine Art department at Swann Auction Galleries. He founded the department in the fall of 2006, and since then has set numerous auction records for important African-American artists, including John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Beauford Delaney, Sargent Johnson, Hughie Lee-Smith, Faith Ringgold and Carrie Mae Weems. Many were the result of significant institutional purchases. The department has also held the single-owner auctions of the estate of Dr. Maya Angelou and the collections of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company and the Johnson Publishing Company, Swann’s first white glove auction. Swann is the only major auction house with a department dedicated to African-American Fine Art.
Outside of Swann, Nigel is a print appraiser on the PBS television show Antiques Roadshow. He has lectured on the subject of African-American art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago. He has also been interviewed by such magazines as The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Art+Auction, Art and Antiques, The Art Newspaper and on the BBC and National Public Radio.
Nigel entered the auction world in 1997 with a background in fine art as a painter and printmaker after earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University in 1991, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Art from Brown University in 1989. Previously, Nigel was the associate director of Swann’s Prints & Drawings department.