Surfacing on the market: Maya Angelou’s birthday quilt

Swann Galleries, New York, the Art Collection of Maya Angelou, 15 September

Faith Ringgold, Maya's Quilt of Life (1989). Courtesy of Swann Galleries

The late author and poet Maya Angelou was also an avid collector of African-American art. This month, more than 50 works from her Harlem home are going on public display—many of them for the first time—at Swann Galleries in New York before the auction on 15 September. A highlight is Maya’s Quilt of Life (1989) by Faith Ringgold, commissioned for Angelou’s birthday by Oprah Winfrey, who described her as “our mother, sister, friend and teacher”. The story quilt (est $150,000-$250,000) includes a striking painting of Angelou in the centre, panels of handwritten excerpts from her books and colourful pieced fabrics. An inscription by Ringgold pays tribute to “the universal wisdom and strength of Maya Angelou, the phenomenal woman, writer, poet, thinker and human being”. This is the first quilt by the 84-year-old artist to come to auction.