Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Word of Caution: Commercial Art Auctions

Marcus Glenn Painting.

I was privileged to have been invited to a charity art auction last night. Although knowing I would be accompanied by three fine ladies, my wife Vickie, approved of my going. You see, these ladies were all members of the 31 Club, and Marsha, whom I've mentioned in my previous blogs, is a member of my church.

I've had the pleasure of talking over lunch with these three ladies over the past few weeks, and I have helped them form a partnership where they will be committed to fulfilling the 31 Steps with us. I wish I had more of our members leaning on me for information and assistance, but I am sure that will be coming.

When we arrived at the auction, artwork was lined up along the walls as if it had just come off the truck. In fact, they didn't even take the ear pads off the paintings. I took a quick look around and could see that this was definitely a commercial sale where the artist's works had very little, if any, auction records available. I knew there wasn't anything of interest to me that would be auctioned, even though it was for charity. While there were works by Peter Max and a few other names you might recognize, most of these were works on paper and limited editions. I rarely buy anything on paper, as its value just isn't there.

While the gentleman conducting the sale gave it his all, and I would want him to work for me any time, there was limited interest in the auction, and it actually never got to be much of an auction, in my opinion. Usually the first bid was the last bid. While the auctioneer was both fun and well-informed when it came to art and the art world, he was working with a crowd that had little interest in what he was selling and did not participate much. So, why were we there?

Most of the people there had a strong interest in their community and wanted to help the charity, if they could. We were also served a great meal and free beverages. I also believe that some of the people would have bought, had the prices been more what they expected -- moderate. I am fairly certain the high prices caught many off guard.

If you are invited to this type of auction, often times held on cruise ships, it is fine to go. But be very cautious about what you buy, unless it is to decorate your home and you are willing to pay the price they are asking. Don't get caught up in the event, however. I consider what I saw last night mostly to be decorative art with no intrinsic value.

There was, however, a high point in the evening for me. An artist by the name of Marcus Glenn was invited to show his works and speak about himself and about what art means to him. His pieces immediately caught my eye, and I believe this young man has a tremendous talent and future. If I had a wall in my house to hang anything else, it would be one in his series called "Storm." One of the signature elements of his paintings definitely appealed to me. Each piece has a wooden flooring that is different colors. As he explained it to me, this is his way of thanking God for making us all different.

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LINK: Marcus Glenn

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