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Successful Fine Art Fundraising Auction Supports Artists and The Museum of Art

By Catherine Mazur, Museum of Art
July 7, 2010

Pottery by Jane Kaufman
The Museum of Art, UNH earned more than $190,000 in financial support during its recent Raising the Bar: Fine Art Auction. The auction realized successful bids for works by some of the region’s renowned 19th c. Boston Impressionist artists as well as more than 50 regional contemporary artists.

Raising the Bar: Fine Art Auction secured a record amount of funds raised by a single special event for the Museum of Art. Donors’ and artists’ direct support were key factors in its success.  Funds raised will be used for Museum of Art exhibitions and educational programs, to support the acquisition and conservation of select works of art, and to upgrade museum infrastructure (storage and lighting capacity).
One of the many highlights of the auction was an important work by American artist Mary Bradish Titcomb (1858-1927) “The Writer”, which realized an auction-high bid of $85,000. This ties the artist’s personal record at auction. Other early 20th c. works, including “View of Portsmouth” by Gertrude Horsford Fiske, (1879-1961); “White Roses” by Hermann Dudley Murphy (1867-1945); and “Landscape #35” and “Summer Day” by William Jurian Kaula (1871-1953), all realized solid market prices as well.
Securing a bid of $2,800, a large-scale painting of Tuckerman’s Ravine by the late New Hampshire artist David C. Baker was among the works which received a great deal of interest. The painting was a favorite among New Hampshire outdoor enthusiasts as well as art appreciators. This Granite State landmark was among the many regional landscapes which drew attention and received high bids, including James Mullen’s “York River” and “Freeport Brook” Christopher Barnes’s photograph “Chesuncook” (from the book “Maine Lakes”) Jack Pollard’s “Nubble Light Squared” and “York Harbor” as well as Matthew Smith’s “Farewell Old Man”, a relief print of the Old Man of the Mountain.
Other recognizable landscapes secured high bids, including: Jayne Dwyer’s “Rocky Coast” (Newcastle); Tom Glover’s “Mt. Monadnock”; four Portsmouth scenes, Don Gorvett’s “Tug, John Wanamaker” and “First Snow, Ceres Street” and Dewitt Hardy’s “Prescott Park and Bridge Entrance” and “Bow Street in Winter”; William Mitchell’s “Mt. Washington from Wildcat” and “View from Beech Mountain”; as well as James Reagan’s “Yellow House on the Bay” and “Rocky Beach.”
Several works by UNH art studio faculty emeriti, including Sigmund Abeles’s “My Last Figure Drawing as a Professor at UNH” and Carol Aronson-Shore’s “Strawbery Banke House in Fall” were among those receiving high bids. A beautifully rendered drawing by the late Durham artist John Hatch, “Ancient Oak”, sold for $1,300 after a round of spirited bidding. Works by current art faculty members, including Brian Chu, Craig Hood, Scott Schnepf, and Don Williams were also sold.  
One goal of the event was to establish a means for artists to receive appropriate compensation from the sale of their works.

According to Wes LaFountain, interim director, Museum of Art, “This event would not have been possible without the high quality of works submitted by local, regional, national, and internationally-recognized artists. In organizing this event, consideration was given to recognizing the importance of supporting artists who support us by participating in our auction. This year, we were able to provide almost $14,000 in artists’ commissions.”
Devin Moisan of Devin Moisan Auctioneers, Inc., Dover, NH (NH Lic. # 2922), presented the items for bidding, paying special attention to the historical significance of works donated by former faculty members of the Department of Art and Art History, as well as many alumni and other regional artists who pursue successful careers as working artists in their own right.
“Raising the Bar” was organized by members of the Museum of Art’s board of advisors, staff, and volunteers. It was made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Museum of Art, and a grant from the Office of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, UNH.  The Museum of Art, UNH, would also like to thank the following sponsors for their valuable support of the auction: Premier Aviation at Portsmouth; Charter Oak Capital Management; Sam and Paula Reid; Debra Holloway and Scott Marion; Anna Grace and Paul Holloway; and the England Family Foundation, Inc.

For more information, contact the Museum of Art at 2-3712 or via email at museum.of.art @unh.edu.

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