Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meeting people at the Museum of Northwest Art

This weekend, I attended the 18th Annual Fundraiser for the Skagit Valley's Museum of Northwest Art.
This museum, located in La Conner was founded by a group of art patrons interested in preserving the rich artistic heritage that draws from the Northwest Mystics and according to their mission statement  is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art by Northwest artists.

Attending both evenings of this fundraiser,[thanks for working Carla] Friday night was the thank you for donating artists and patrons party.We were feted with finger foods and a lovely selection of beverages and desserts. The museum rehangs it's 2 floors of  walls to accommodate the donation of approx 350 pieces of artwork. All works are donated with the hope that these pieces will raise money to help fund this institution work in all areas, including restoration of artworks, exhibitions and educational outreach. The artworks range in price from $ 75 retail to a high of $ 12,000 for the Richard Marquis glass sculpture, pictured on the cover of the Auction Catalog.

Waterworks Gallery had 6 artists participate in this fundraiser. The gallery purchased an ad in the Auction Catalog to acknowledge the representation of these artists to the attendees of the auction. David Eisenhour, Catherine Eaton Skinner, Lisa Gilley, Kathleen Falkner, Sue Roberts and Cathy Schoenberg.
Lisa Gilley demoed the workings of soft pastels. She started a lovely Skagit Valley landscape but due to time constraints was unable to finish.

Saturday night was a bit different, more pressure, more dress up, and way more chatter and buzz. Raw oysters in abundance, yum yum, a lovely red wine worked well with the excitement in the room. The evening involved lots of walking around to both levels of the museum checking out the bids on works that were available. In what seemed like record time, the lots of silent auction were closing. Works were selling for modest sums of money, not top bid or bottom bid most items were sold under retail value. [ Oh to have extra money to bid with !]

Kip Toner from Seattle was the master of ceremonies and the auctioneer. My kudos to the man for studying his materials and for making all feel welcome and involved in the auction process. Pretty young things with large gold decals walked  through the museum rooms selling tickets for a special auction item. For $ 100 donation, you bought a raffle ticket [only 100 were sold] and  if your ticket was picked at random , your prize was to pick any item, regardless of value from the live auction. This item was pulled from the live auction bidding and be yours. Great concept and fundraiser.

The auction began at 7.30, and the result were remarkable. Most items sold , though not at retail value. A few pieces sold way over their value and a few went unsold. Bidding was all over the place, approx 75 pieces were sold in the live auction while patrons munched on a boxed dinner catered by Nell Thorn Restaurant, sipping on donated wines and beers. At the end of the evening , I heard that approx $ 180,000 was raised in the live auction.

The generosity of  patrons, artists and the staff and volunteers created an evening to remember. Congratulations to all. Truly we the community are the beneficiaries in this cultural and artistic endeavor that is the Museum of Northwest Art's Annual fundraiser.

Next year, I want to buy even a bigger ad. I am proud to be part of this community.
Long live the arts!
PS If you want to attend next years auction, let me know.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Value & Money

Fascinating to think about the art world and money. 
SO much money.
Such amazing art!

The current record  price for a painting is from an auction sale that occurred in 2006. The painting [pictured above] is No5 ,1948 by Jackson Pollock. The price was sold at US $ 140 million.

The 2nd highest price at auction is for William DeKooning's Woman III [pictured right] was sold in 2006 for US $ 148 million. This DeKooning was painted 1953.

The 3rd highest price was again from 2006, was for Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. [Picture left]. The painting was part of a group of five canvases recently returned to the heirs of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. The Nazis confiscated his paintings during the World War II, and after the war, the canvases were placed at the National Gallery of Austria in 1948.

What an amazing art auction year 2006 was.
What were you doing in 2006?
So much money, so much art. 
Did these paintings pass over into the world of cultural icons ie. The Mona Lisa ? Da Vinci's Last Supper?

In 2010 spring auctions, the Pablo Picasso painting, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, sold at auction for $ US 106 million.[pictured left]
 Yes, only US $106 million. This painting was not on public view and will remain in another private collection.
One could only image what a record auction price this painting would have fetched back in 2006.

The most expensive sculpture at auction was Alberto Giacometti's L'Homme Qui Marche (Walking Man 1) set a record for the most expensive piece of sculpture was sold in February 2010. It sold for $US 98 million.[pictured below] This bronze is edition of 6 and was cast in 1961.

In most of the above sales, the pieces ended up in private collections. Some collectors loan work to museums and some do not.We may never see some artworks again. For our museum to remain strong , we must remember the importance of financially supporting our museums and the work they do.

Become a member, go to the exhibitions,contribute financially and most importantly, expose and educate yourself to more ART!

Now, in my opinion, the real value, for collectors, is in the art galleries who are surviving this economic downturn. We offer a wide variety of  quality artworks that are both accessible and  have value.

During these hard economic times the antique and Art world has repeatedly demonstrated exactly how  resilient they really are, making it evident in its potential for an area of investment. The type of investment in artwork is one of emotional investment, and perhaps economic investment.
If you had bought that piece of Art  before this economic downturn,  you would still have the artwork!

Remember to visit and support your local galleries.