ATTLEBORO — From oil paintings to mixed media, sculptures and handcrafted jewelry, Saturday night’s 28th annual art auction at the Attleboro Arts Museum exhibited a variety of pieces for the 200 patrons in attendance.
The live auction contained 52 pieces of art, with more than 160 other pieces available in the silent auction. A total of $28,190 was raised at the auction, with $15,090 raised in the live auction and another $13,110 raised during the silent auction.
This year’s auction was an array of artwork from 174 different artists which formed a collection that museum executive director Mim Fawcett called “off the wall” because they were not merely two-dimensional works.
Among those pieces was a painted table by Lesley Makris, a sculpture of mixed media by Elizabeth Lind called “Secrets,” and a set of felted-material jars created by Carolann Tebbetts. Even one painting in the silent auction, “Still Life With Power Outlet,” had noticeably large drops of dried oil paint on the canvas.
“There are a number of pieces that are not the standard,” Fawcett said.
As soon as the museum doors opened 90 minutes before the auction officially began, the gallery was crowded with patrons admiring the artwork, and several already had their choice picks in mind.
Melinda Kwart of Attleboro was drawn to “Heron’s Nest,” an oil painting by Melissa Riley, which became the very first item to be auctioned.
Kwart, who has been coming to the auction for “many years,” said her house was filled with paintings from the previous auctions she had attended at the museum.
“There’s a real variety in the types of paintings, and the types of mediums, and it’s for a good cause,” Kwart said.
For Mary Wojciechowski of North Attleboro, “Double Read” by Bill Lane was her favorite, and was what auctioneer Stuart Slavid of Skinner Auctions described as “the morning light bouncing off two Attleboro institutions” as the watercolor painting was up for bidding.
For a decade, Wojciechowski has been a faithful patron of the museum’s largest fundraiser.
“A person could give some of their less strong work, but they don’t,” Wojciechowski said of the quality of the artists’ work. “People take (the auction) very seriously. They’re giving some of their best work to be part of this auction. Their artwork means something to them.”
Wojciechowski was accompanied by Susan Clarke of Lincoln, R.I., who had donated her monotype “Sunset” to the silent auction.
“It’s got such variety,” Clarke said of the auction. “There are pieces for every single person in style and price.”
A painting by Barbara Corrigan, “Copley Square,” had a starting bid of $500. But in less than a minute, the bids grew higher until it finally sold for $1,200. Corrigan’s painting, which was donated by Jim Duffy with support from Missy Riley, was the top seller of the night.
Corrigan was a lifelong Attleboro resident and 1944 graduate of Mass College of Art and Design. She was a regular illustrator of “Highlights” magazine covers, but is best known in the Attleboro area for note cards printed with images of her paintings.
First-time patron Deb Jones of Attleboro won a monoprint titled “Let Me Out,” for $120. Jones was attracted to the piece’s abstract composition of black and white, and she and her husband Scott appreciated such an event at the city’s museum.
“What’s nice about this auction is it’s promoting local art, and it’s nice for Attleboro to have something like this in the downtown area,” Jones said.
Fawcett said the museum will be hosting a post auction sale of the few pieces that did not find a home during the event. The sale runs from Tuesday through Saturday at the museum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All pieces in the post-auction sale will be sold at the opening bid price — one-third of the value.