Varnette Honeywood (American artist)



2015-06-26 10:30:33

Varnette Honeywood was a notable American artist whose work depicted African-American culture and history.


Brief History and Description

Varnette Honeywood was born on 27th December, 1950 in Los Angeles to Stepney and Lovie Honeywood. She studied art as a teenager at the Chouinard Art Institute. Following her undergraduate degree in Art from the Spelman College in Atlanta in 1972, Honeywood returned to Los Angeles in 1974, to obtain her master's degree in Education from the University of Southern California. For 5 years, she taught art, design, crafts, and cultural programs to minority and black students under the Joint Educational Project.

One of the high points of her career was providing positive visual images to black students. Since 1978, she and her sister managed "Black Lifestyles," a mail order greeting card business which marketed her paintings, and prints of several other African American artists.

Her paintings and collages were a part of the interior settings for the TV Series "The Cosby Show", "Amen", "A Different World" and "227". She was awarded the Virginia Kiah Service Award in 1987 at the National Conference of Artists in Los Angeles and an honorary doctorate in fine arts in 2005. Honeywood succumbed to cancer on 12th September, 2010 aged 59 after fighting the disease for over two years.

Guide for Collectors

Varnette Honeywood’s usage of light, color, patterns and textures was highly respected and reputed art collectors still collect her works. Her collages, acrylics, prints have received recognition and exposure in books, art galleries and exhibitions, particularly at the Afro-American art sales.

Her art is classified as figurative abstraction and some of her prominent works can be found at the Camille Cosby Academic Art Center at Spelman College in Atlanta. Most of Varnette Honeywood's work can be seen in the artwork and illustrations she did for the children’s book she created with Bill Cosby, called Little Bill.

Black Lifestyles, the greeting card business which Varnette Honeywood started with her sister is also a popular source for Varnette Honeywood prints. It is here Varnette converted most of her acrylic paintings into popular prints and greeting cards. A tip for collectors, Varnette’s paintings and collages had a socially conscious style that showed African Americans in familiar settings, where they interacted with family members, socializing, or at a gathering at church.

One of her works titled "Club Alabam - Down at the Dunbar" has significant historical content at the same time combines composition with striking colors. Some of Honeywood’s works can also be found at the online marketplace, eBay.

Value & Notable Auction Sales

Honeywood’s collage, "Getting down" done during 1984 went for a hammer price of $6,000 at the African-American Fine Art Sale in Swann Auction Galleries, New York, on 19th February, 2008. Her collage of mixed papers and cotton plant titled "Pickin Cotton" done during 1975, also went for a premium price of $2,880 at the African-American Art Sale at Swann Galleries, New York on 4th October, 2007.

Her acrylic on canvas titled "Love is love – the family" done during 1985, also went for a premium price of $2,880 at the African-American Art Sale at Swann Galleries, New York on 4th October, 2007. Another fabric collage titled "Young girl" that was estimated between $5,000 and $7,000 is believed to have sold for a hammer price of $13,000 at Swann Galleries, New York, on 4th October, 2007.

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